There is a persuasive theory that the current state of Chelsea Football Club has its roots in a lack of succession planning.

In many cases that is undoubtedly true: the lack of a Plan B for when Project Mourinho 2.0 inevitably flipped-out; the ham fisted way in which the absence Didier Drogba's on and off-pitch influence was not mitigated.

But in the case of John Terry, there have been plenty of attempts to find a way of refurbishing the ageing defender's berth.

It's just Chelsea have managed to get most of them wrong.

The much maligned Andre Villas-Boas tried it as far back as 2011, when a long hard look was taken at the age of the squad.

John Terry honours


Premier League


FA Cup


Champions League


League Cup


Community Shield


Europa League

Forced to experiment with Jose Bosingwa, Alex or Branislav Ivanovic at centre half - all of which were makeshift options – he looked for a new man to work at the back.

Ryan Shawcross was the one he fancied, though the club had different ideas, and signed Gary Cahill.

It is worth noting here that while Shawcross' style might have set him out as a potential Terry successor, Cahill was always a foil to the Blues captain.

Chelsea's defence has worked best when it has combined Terry's brawn with mobility – William Gallas being the best case in point, and Ricardo Carvalho being another good example.

Cahill was always in that mould, and thus for the first time Chelsea dodged the decision.

This explains why, though having the advantage of incumbency, Cahill can never really be a true successor to Terry.

Then there was David Luiz – who had all of the ball playing flair and mobility required, yet few of the real defensive skills that the Premier League requires. Chelsea must have thought all of their Christmases had come at once when PSG offered £50m for him.

Kurt Zouma is another, more fitting applicant for the role.

Though only young, he appears to have the ability to play in either role at the back.

Next to Terry he is able to fill the role of the artisan, while next to Cahill he can be the hard man.

The problem is that, lacking in experience as he is, while his game is frequently raised by the presence of Terry, the lack of leadership in Cahill's package means the Frenchman tends to slump in form next to the man Blues signed from Bolton.

This all explains why John Stones became a figure of such importance for Chelsea last summer.

Even then, to be truthful, Chelsea had already left it too late to replace Terry.

By rolling on his contract for another year, it was clear for all to see that we could well be in the situation we are now in at precisely this point.

That immediately increased the price of any Terry-shaped player to Chelsea, at a time when prices were already inflated by the new big money TV deal that had emboldened all Premier League clubs.

Stones, six months or a year earlier, might have been got for £10m to £15m. Suddenly the price was in excess of £40m.

And, while he would no doubt complement Zouma in that back line, two very green players – in Stones' case watch his errors in Everton's League Cup semi second leg – need both time and tutorship.

poll loading

Are Chelsea right to let John Terry leave?

Following the demise of the Stones bid, there was a deadline day shift of focus to PSG's Marquinhos – untried in the Premier League, and again the sort of flighty presence that would be more of a partner than a replacement for Terry.

The current chapter of this story ends with the baffling acquisition of Papy Djilobodji, and finally American Matt Miazga: the signing of whom prompted a one-word reaction from most – 'who?'

So Chelsea go back to the drawing board.

There will be no signings today, in the closing moments of the transfer window, says Guus Hiddink.

And, as things stand, Terry will be gone in the summer: no hand-over, no sharing of knowledge, no training ground tips.

One, possibly two new centre halves will be bought in the summer – and they will be pitched in to fight battles at the back completely anew.

Transition used to be a temporary phase at Chelsea. It now appears to be the new normal.

Time Line

TIMELINE: John Terry's Chelsea career

  1. Starting Out

    John Terry started out playing for Senrab, an east London Sunday League side, before being taken on by West Ham's youth system in 1991 as a midfielder.

  2. 1995

    Terry moved to Chelsea and moved to centre back as he moved through the ranks at Stamford Bridge.

  3. October 28, 1998

    Terry made his Chelsea debut against Aston Villa in the League Cup and his first start came in January against Oldham.

  4. 2000

    The defender went out on loan to Nottingham Forest to build up first team experience; the only time he has pulled on a club shirt other than Chelsea's.

  5. September 11, 2001

    Terry was fined two weeks wages by Chelsea along with Frank Lampard, Jody Morris, Eidur Gudjohnsen and Frank Sinclair for harassing Americans in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

  6. December 5, 2001

    Terry was handed the captain's armband for the first time against Charlton Athletic.

  7. 2002

    Terry was charged with assault and affray after being involved in an altercation with a bouncer at a west London nightclub along with Morris and Wimbledon's Des Byrne. He was acquitted in court.

  8. June 2003

    John Terry made his England debut against Serbia and Montenegro

  9. 2003/04

    Terry became vice captain under Claudio Ranieri when Marcel Desailly was out of the side and formed a strong defensive partnership with William Gallas.

  10. 2004/05

    Jose Mourinho appointed him as captain and Chelsea won the league with the best defensive record in Football League history. He was named as player of the year and voted the best defender in the Champions League.

  11. 2005/06

    Terry helped Chelsea defend their title with 91 points as they wrapped it up with a 3-0 win over Manchester United.

  12. August 10, 2006

    Terry was named England captain by Steve McClaren.

  13. October 14, 2006

    Terry went in goal after Petr Cech and Carlo Cudicini were both injured, wearing the number 40 shirt of Henrique Hilario.

  14. November 5, 2006

    Terry was sent off for the first time in his Chelsea career against Tottenham as the Blues lost at White Hart Lane.

  15. February 25, 2007

    Terry, despite suffering an ankle injury in the build-up, played through the pain barrier against Arsenal in the League Cup final. He was stretchered off and taken to hospital after being accidentally kicked in the face by Abou Diaby. He returned from hospital to join in the celebrations.

  16. May 2007

    Terry became the first player to lift the FA Cup at the newly rebuilt Wembley Stadium.

  17. June 1, 2007

    Terry became the first England senior player to score an international goal at the new Wembley.

  18. May 2,1 2008

    Terry slipped when taking his penalty against Manchester United in the Champions League final and missed. Had he scored Chelsea would have claimed their first European Cup. Nicolas Anelka missed soon after to hand the Red Devils the title.

  19. 2008/09 season

    Terry was again named UEFA defender of the year and Manchester City had a third bid turned down. He did win the FA Cup against Everton that year.

  20. November 8 2009

    Terry scored the winning goal against Manchester United to preserve their perfect home record.

  21. February 5, 2010

    Fabio Capello sacked Terry as England captain after allegations regarding his private life.

  22. May 9, 2010

    Terry lifted the Premier League title once again before captaining the Blues to his fourth FA Cup triumph.

  23. March 19, 2011

    Capello reinstated Terry as England captain after a long-term injury to Rio Ferdinand.

  24. November 2, 2011

    The captain was placed under police investigation following an allegation of racist abuse made towards QPR defender Anton Ferdinand.

  25. December 21, 2011

    Terry was charged for this offence by the Crown Prosecution Service.

  26. December 31, 2011

    The defender captained Chelsea for the 400th time against Aston Villa. That season he was the world's third best passer behind Xavi and Swansea's Leon Britton.

  27. February 3, 2012

    The FA stripped Terry of the captaincy over the allegations Terry racially abused Anton Ferdinand. Fabio Capello resigned in protest at the decision.

  28. April 24, 2012

    Terry was sent off for kneeing Alexis Sanchez off the ball in the Champions League semi final but the Blues reached the final. He won another FA Cup as the Blues beat Liverpool in the final.

  29. May 19, 2012

    Terry watched his Chelsea side beat Bayern Munich and lifted the trophy in his full kit, prompting memes across the internet.

  30. July 13, 2012

    Terry was acquitted by a court as it was impossible to be sure about the words used by the defender towards Anton Ferdinand

  31. July 27, 2012

    Terry was charged by the FA for using insulting words including a reference to colour.

  32. September 2012

    Terry announced his retirement from international football as his position had become untenable.

  33. September 27, 2012

    Terry was banned for four games for racially abusing Anton Ferdinand and fined £220,000.

  34. November 11, 2012

    Terry suffered a knee injury against Liverpool and was ruled out until the end of January. He was left out of the side that won the Europa League agreed a one year contract that summer after looking as if he was on the way out of Stamford Bridge.

  35. 2013/14

    Restored to the side by Jose Mourinho, Terry was a regular once again and won another new contract.

  36. 2014/15

    Terry captained Chelsea for the 500th time against Crystal Palace and led his side to the league title as well as another League Cup triumph, scoring the opening goal against Tottenham.

  37. May 2015

    Another Premier League title goes John Terry's way as he plays every minute of their campaign

  38. August 16, 2015

    Jose Mourinho subbed John Terry at half-time for tactical reasons. The first time the Portuguese boss had done so.

  39. January 31, 2016

    Terry announces his contract won't be renewed and he will leave Chelsea at the end of the season.

  40. May 7 2016

    Terry is sent off at Sunderland, his second red card of the season, meaning he will miss the final two games of the season

  41. May 13, 2016

    Interim manager Guus Hiddink's final pre-match press conference is used to announce Chelsea have performed a U-turn and offered Terry a new deal.

  42. May 15, 2016

    Suspended Terry takes part in a lap of honour at the Bridge and addresses the fans, hinting he wants to stay, as the Blues close the season against champions Leicester.

  43. May 18, 2016

    Terry and Chelsea announce a new one-year deal has been signed, with incoming manager Antonio Conte having given his seal of approval to the contract.