John Terry is set to become the latest high-profile name to move to Saudi Arabia – but he isn’t going there to be a manager.
The Chelsea legend, who was previously assistant manager at Leicester and Aston Villa , is close to joining Saudi Pro League side Al-Shabab as their new director of football. Terry held talks with Al-Shabab’s president-in-waiting Muhammad Al-Munjam over the club’s managerial vacancy in August, but has agreed instead to take on more of an upstairs role.
Terry’s job will be to oversee recruitment, player development and the club’s overall strategy while also managing contract negotiations and staff hires. The 42-year-old’s first task will be to help find a new permanent head coach to take over from Juan Brown, who has been managing the first team on a caretaker basis since July.
Between his brief spell as Leicester assistant under Dean Smith last season and his three-year spell as Aston Villa assistant, also under Smith, Terry has been working part-time at former club Chelsea as a youth coaching consultant. He returned to the role in July after leaving Leicester following the Foxes’ relegation to the Championship.
Al-Shabab aren’t as blessed in the finance department as some of their Saudi Pro League opponents. While teams like Al-Nassr, Al-Hilal and Al-Ittihad, all of whom are bankrolled by the government’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) have bought the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo , Neymar and Karim Benzema, the biggest name Al-Shabab have signed this summer is former Atletico Madrid forward Yannick Carrasco.
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They’re currently 11th (out of 18) in the table, having won just two of their opening seven league matches of the season. The club have had several notable former managers, including Terry’s former Chelsea coach Luiz Felipe Scolari, who was in charge between 1984-1985 (and is one of 14 Brazilians to manage the club, bizarrely), and ex-Liverpool star Luis Garcia, whose infamous ‘ghost goal’ knocked Terry’s Chelsea out of the Champions League at the semi-final stage in 2005.
Terry has been eying up a move into management ever since hanging up his boots in 2018, and has admitted that managing Chelsea is his dream. But this latest move suggests he’s reconsidered his career path, especially after admitting to being overlooked for a number of managerial positions in the past few years.