LONDON: Former Chelsea and England star John Terry is set to make a shock move to Russian club Spartak Moscow, according to reports on Saturday.
Terry spent last season with Championship side Aston Villa, but left after they failed to win promotion to the Premier League.
The 37-year-old defender had been linked with a return to Villa Park, but instead it appears he will make an unexpected switch to Spartak.
Terry is said to have undergone a medical with Spartak officials in Rome after pulling out of a scheduled charity match at Celtic on Saturday.
The Russian club are managed by Massimo Carrera, who was former Chelsea manager Antonio Conte’s assistant with Juventus and Italy.
Terry played under Conte at Chelsea before leaving the Blues in 2017 and it is believed the Italian gave Carrera a glowing reference about his former centre-back.
Spartak, said to have offered Terry £1.8 million (RM9.7 million) for his year in Moscow, hinted at an imminent announcement on their Twitter account, saying they were opening the doors for “a very important guest”.
Moscow has a painful place in Terry’s past after his missed penalty in the 2008 Champions League final shoot-out against Manchester United played a major role in Chelsea’s defeat.
Terry was one of Chelsea’s most decorated players, winning five Premier Leagues, five FA Cups, and the 2012 Champions League during his time at Stamford Bridge.
He also won 78 caps for England and captained his country before being stripped of the armband after the Football Association ruled he had racially abused QPR’s Anton Ferdinand.
Following Villa’s playoff final loss to Fulham last season, Terry had considered retiring.
But Terry told the Daily Mail on Saturday that he was keen to keep playing as long as possible.
“I am in the best condition I have been in for the last eight to 10 years of my career,” Terry said.
“I’ve had a brilliant summer, the first time in 20 years I have been able to get away like that with my family during the school holidays.”
“I was away so much last year because I was fully committed to giving everything to Aston Villa, but now I am fully recharged.”