John Terry is 36 years old and out of contract at the end of this season. He hasn't been a regular starter for Chelsea so far in the 2016-17 Premier League campaign, so it might not be a surprise to learn that the center back has attracted interest from teams interested in offering him a more substantial role.
But the Daily Star is keen to inform its readers that before John Terry looks to his future he is looking to be part of another league-winning Chelsea squad. No matter how big or small his role with the team; no matter how keen other clubs might be to lure him away.
It's not entirely clear why the Star thinks Terry's loyalty to Chelsea needs to be re-stated - he's never had a pro contract with any other club - but the paper at least tells an entertaining story. Not a credible story for New York Red Bulls fans, but an entertaining one.
The suggestion is that Terry has recently rebuffed three MLS teams - LA Galaxy, Orlando City, and RBNY - keen to sign him up for the 2017 season and each willing to offer him...wait for it: more than $600,000 to sign a contract, and a weekly salary around $250,000.
If that weekly wage was only in effect for the MLS regular season - not preseason and not playoffs - it would total around $9 million: $3 million more than NYCFC was paying Frank Lampard in 2016; about $2 million more than Orlando paid Kaka; close to what LA Galaxy was paying Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane combined (per the MLS Players Union salary report). And, of course, with the reported signing fee - there would not have been much change from $10 million.
It's hard to imagine any team in MLS paying that amount for a defender. Right or wrong, the league just doesn't value defenders that much. And in this case "that much" is "more than Sebastian Giovinco and almost twice as much as David Villa": i.e. the last two MLS MVPs.
But it's not impossible to imagine. LA and Orlando like to spend on big names, and Terry is a big name. If you wanted to name some MLS clubs that might just be sufficiently bonkers to offer a center back more than the top-earning goal scorers in the league - sure, the Galaxy and OCSC are fractionally less implausible than most other options.
RBNY, however, is a different case. The team is into its third season of a transfer policy that prioritizes potential over experience. And it is no longer one of MLS' big spenders. In 2016, the highest estimate of the Red Bulls' total payroll was around $7 million.
It is true that the team sorely needed center backs for this season: it only had one specialist CB after its 2016 contacts expired. But RBNY has addressed that need by re-signing Aurelien Collin and Damien Perrinelle (total 2016 guaranteed salary: $665,000, or about two and a half weeks of John Terry per the Star) and acquiring teenage rookie Hassan Ndam. Reserve-teamer Aaron Long is expected to be formally promoted to the first team in due course - or maybe RBNY was hoping to fill Long's spot with a 36-year-old who would have cost more than the entire 2016 squad.
Thanks for thinking of the New York Red Bulls, Daily Star. We don't believe you but of course that means we also do: all you're really saying is John Terry didn't take $10 million to move to MLS - and that cannot be disputed since he hasn't moved to MLS. Well played, rumor mill.