Swansea City manager Paul Clement has revealed how John Terry chose to drop down to the Championship because he couldn’t face playing against Chelsea in the Premier League.
Terry, 36, will join Aston Villa ahead of the new season after his contract at Stamford Bridge expired.
The former Chelsea captain was in demand, with Swansea and Bournemouth among the top-flight clubs to have courted his services this summer, but chose to move down a division.
And Clement says the indications he was given were that Terry did not want to face the prospect of playing against the club he spent 22 years with.
The pair worked together at Chelsea when Clement was Carlo Ancelotti’s assistant at Stamford Bridge and held talks over the veteran player’s future earlier this summer.
‘My understanding of the situation is that, with John and his relationship with Chelsea, he was going to find it difficult to be a direct competitor of them in the Premier League,’ Clement told talkSPORT.
‘John is someone I know very well and have a lot respect for and have a good relationship with. Having known him since he was 16 years old and worked with him as well in the later years when I was an assistant at Chelsea, I understand very well his situation.
‘He has made a sensible choice. Aston Villa are a very good club, they have got a good manager, they have got a nice infrastructure there.
‘I think he is getting that balance between wanting to continue to play at a good level but at the same time not wanting to pull at his heartstrings really because it was difficult for him leaving Chelsea.’
Terry is unlikely to come up against Chelsea while playing at Villa Park unless his old and new clubs are paired in one of the cup competitions.
He would not have been afforded that luxury in the Premier League and, having watched long-term team-mate Frank Lampard struggle with facing Chelsea in his brief spell at Manchester City, Terry wanted to avoid a similar fate.
He will earn up to £80,000 per week at Villa, if he can help guide Steve Bruce’s side back to the top flight for the first time since their relegation in 2016.