John Obi Mikel believes that Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte played a key role in John Terry being handed a new one-year contract at Stamford Bridge.
Terry declared that he expected to leave Chelsea back in January after being informed that no offer of an extension was forthcoming but, after a lengthy public stand-off, the 35-year-old signed a new one-year deal after meeting with director Marina Granovskaia and chairman Bruce Buck in May.
“I think Conte played a big part in that contract that JT got,” Mikel told Goal. “I think if JT said no, then obviously I don’t think the club would have done that, but I think the fans as well got right behind JT and the fans really wanted him to stay.
“He is the leader, he is the captain and the fans really think with JT we have a better chance of winning the trophy again. I think everyone came together the fans, Antonio and the board did a massive job to make sure that John stays.”
The defender has maintained his position of prominence under Conte this season, starting each of Chelsea’s first four Premier League matches before straining ankle ligaments in a 2-2 draw with Swansea City earlier this month.
In Terry’s absence, Chelsea have conceded seven goals in their last three matches, losing comprehensively to Premier League top-four rivals Liverpool and Arsenal in the process, and Mikel insists his friend and teammate remains as crucial to the team’s fortunes as ever.
“Obviously the manager still thinks that he can offer him quite a lot,” the Nigeria international added. “And you can see he has played some games now and he has played really well so, at his age, I think he is still playing really really well so I don’t think anyone can say it was the wrong choice to give him the contract.”
Terry was linked with moves to the MLS, the Middle East and the Chinese Super League before committing his future to the club.