So John Terry finally managed to take his eyes off Manchester City's lucre long enough to declare his undying love for Chelsea. Apparently, there was never any chance of him leaving and he's totally committed to the west London club; good for him!
Only...why did it take so long? The folks at the Guardian have done a good job this week poking fun at Terry for his behavior this summer. To wit:
Those in search of the year's finest scripted comedy need look no further than the already infamous statement issued on behalf of John Terry by Chelsea's PR department: "... me leaving Chelsea was never a possibility".
That's from Lawrence Donegan's scathing piece about Terry, which also points out that his machinations might have made Carlo Ancelotti's job almost impossible.
Fellow Guardianista Barry Glendenning opts for the more sarcastic route, taking Terry at his word but wondering what that really means.
Terry's statement reveals him to be a man so lacking in ambition that he was unprepared to even consider the prospect of signing for a club whose financial clout and relentless, if ultimately unsuccessful, pursuit of the world's best players and John Terry has been well documented.
But of course, it's easy to laugh at poor old Terry. As one commenter in Donegan's piece pointed out, what's wrong with an employee doing what he can to get a pay rise from a boss he never intends to leave?
To reiterate our position though, it's not so much Terry's actions (rather, his silence) that grate so much, but the charade that it's all about loyalty and fears about Chelsea's on-field future -- the implication being that money never came into it. What's so wrong with simply saying that Chelsea promised to improve the team and also improve his pay? Are football fans so naive? Hopefully not.
Still, the facts are there for anyone who cares to look:
talks will now take place with Terry over improving his current £130,000-a-week contract which has three years left to run. Although Chelsea will not match the near £200,000-a-week City were offering Terry – who they had bid £30 million for – the 28-year-old will again become the club’s highest-earning player.
It'll be interesting to see how Chelsea's fans take to Terry once the season starts: will he be viewed as the prodigal son, or the mercenary who held the club to ransom in the off-season?