Monday 13 July ~
Both John Terry and Gareth Barry have been criticised over possible moves to Manchester City this summer. The allegation seems to be that choosing to move to City – and receive an increased wage – is an affront to their professional ambitions to win trophies. The argument has a simple flaw: it assumes that money and success do not go hand in hand in football. If anyone has witnessed the disproof of that theory it is Terry – the “Mr Chelsea” of the Abramovich era.
Irked by Gareth Barry's choice of City over Liverpool, Rafael Benítez claimed Barry was only interested in money. Without saying too much, Rafa commented: "If it's just for money sometimes you will make mistakes, like Gareth Barry. I won't say too much, but it was clearly for money – 100 per cent." The argument does carry some weight. City are offering astronomical wages but cannot claim any recent silverware. They barely finished into the top half of the Premier League table this season and will not play in the Champions League next season.
However, unlike Chelsea, and to a lesser extent Liverpool, City's squad is going through a period of extensive enhancement. To claim that Barry and Terry are only interested in money is to disparage the club's footballing ambitions. Three of the players they have signed since the Abu Dhabi United takeover last September have Champions League calibre. Robinho was snatched from under the covetous gazes of the then Chelsea manager Luiz Filipe Scolari; Barry was pursued repeatedly by Liverpool; and Carlos Tévez has reportedly turned down a five year contract with Manchester United to sign for Mark Hughes.
After lifting the FA Cup last season, Terry urged his bosses at Chelsea to sign Franck Ribery or David Villa. The club have so far failed to buy either of these two, and – despite being linked to Alexandre Pato, Zlatan Ibrahimovich and Kaka – their only recruits have been Yuri Zhirkov, Daniel Sturridge and Ross Turnbull.
To think that Terry's head has been turned only by the lure of City's lucre underestimates the rising level of footballing quality at Eastlands. If Terry signs for Man City his earnings will be staggering, but, as Chelsea have shown in the past six years, money and silverware are firm friends in football. Paul Campbell