Chelsea's John Terry backed by Sven-Goran Eriksson to make China move
Sven-Goran Eriksson insists John Terry would be a great addition to the Chinese Super League if he leaves Chelsea at the end of the season.
Terry, who watched Chelsea's 5-1 FA Cup victory over Manchester City from the sidelines on Sunday as he recovers from a hamstring problem, expects to end his 18-year professional association with the club this summer after being informed that they had declined to offer him a new contract.
Chelsea insist that "channels of dialogue" will remain open with their captain over his future, but the 35-year-old is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with any interested club between now and June.
And Eriksson -- who gave Terry his England debut in 2003 and now manages Chinese side Shanghai SIPG -- believes the defender would be a big hit in China.
"There is a lot of talk about John Terry in China," Eriksson told The Sun. "He has been one of the greatest defenders in the world for the last 15 years. He is still doing very well and has a lot to offer. He is one of the most recognisable players in world football.
"Chinese teams are looking for these big players. Great teams need great leaders. They do not come much better than John Terry. With his skill, his experience, he would be great in China, I have no doubt about that."
Chinese Super League clubs have dominated the global transfer market with vast spending in recent weeks.
Jiangsu Suning signed Terry's former Chelsea teammate Ramires and Liverpool target Alex Teixeira for a combined £63 million, while Atletico Madrid sold Jackson Martinez to Guangzhou Evergrande for £32m and Hebai China Fortune acquired Gervinho and Ezequiel Lavezzi from Roma and Paris Saint-Germain respectively.
Eriksson believes China's renewed focus on football is no passing phenomenon and expects more headline-grabbing transfers in the months and years to come.
"China is the future," he added. "Football here will get bigger and bigger. I have already seen a huge difference. The more top players who come, the bigger and better it will get. This is a great place to live and play football. It is fantastic."
Liam is ESPN FC's Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter: @Liam_Twomey.