Chelsea midfielder John Obi Mikel has revealed how Antonio Conte played a key role in keeping captain John Terry at the club for another year.
Terry, who emerged through the Blues’youth system and has gone on to make over 700 first-team appearances, looked initially set to leave the club as talks over a new contract stalled prior to him signing a one-year deal in May.
Mikel would have gone on to become Chelsea’s longest serving player had Terry left the club, having joined them in 2006 from Lyn.
But the Nigeria captain is delighted that Terry and Conte came to an agreement over an extension.
“I think Conte played a big part in that contract that JT got,”Mikel toldGoal.”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.
“I think JT will definitely be in Chelsea forever, so I can always wish him well, even when he retires, I think he will always be involved with this football club.”
Terry and Mikel have enjoyed many years of success together at Chelsea, winning several honours including the Champions League, the Europa League and also the Premier League twice.
Mikel admitted that he and Terry spoke about the skipper’s contract negotiations with Chelsea a lot last season when it looked as though the latter was about to end his 18-year association with the club.
“I am very happy and I was very pleased for him.”he added. “He lives right next door to me, he is my neighbour, so I spoke to him quite a lot when the whole thing was going through, I think for him, he is Chelsea through and through and couldn’t see himself playing somewhere else. That is the truth about it.
“He wanted to stay, he wanted to stay and get, at least, one more year and then let’s see what happens with that. I am very pleased that the manager came to an agreement and offered him a new deal.
“Obviously the manager still thinks that he can offer him quite a lot 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.”