Antonio Conte says he understands and respects John Terry’s decision to leave Chelsea but insists the defender will be a “serious loss” to the club.
The Blues and the 36-year-old skipper both announced on Monday that he will leave Stamford Bridge after 22 years when his contract expires in the summer.
John Terry has expressed a desire to remain in the Premier League and Swansea boss Paul Clement has already suggested he would be willing to offer the veteran defender a deal, if the Swans avoid relegation.
“I am not surprised about this [the reaction]. I am repeating that John Terry, for me in this first season, is very important. He is helping me on and off the pitch,” Conte said.
“He is a great captain, the problem is that John wants to play regularly and for this reason we have to respect his decision. I was a footballer and when you arrive at this point of your career, and your body tells you to continue it is right to.
“We have to respect his decision. If you ask me if next season it is a serious loss…yes, I think so. I am seeing what John is doing this season in the changing room. We are building a foundation and he is important to this.”