John Terry will wear blue next season, but will it be with Manchester City or Chelsea? The question seems no closer to producing an answer as the pressure mounts on the Chelsea captain to clear up the uncertainty surrounding his future. City, owned by Sheikh Mansour, remain hopeful they can pull off the biggest transfer coup by an English club this summer.
Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Gareth Barry and Roque Santa Cruz have all joined the ambitious club for a total of £80million (Dh481.7m). But Terry will top their transfers and it will mean breaking their £32.5m Premier League record purchase of Robinho if they are to lure him up North. An inspirational leader for club and country, Terry commands respect from one and all. Every day during their American tour, one of his Chelsea teammates has made a passionate plea to get him to stay at Stamford Bridge.
Didier Drogba is the latest as he said: "He's our captain and we need him. We know he's going to stay with us and win more trophies." But that may not be the case. Terry has remained unmoved about the speculation and his silence could speak volumes. He has witnessed City's spending spree and the arrival of major names. These are exciting times for the club and any player's head will be turned by the plans being put in place at Eastlands.
Nigel de Jong was attracted by City's long-term project when he came from Hamburg in January. The Dutchman said all the players are taking a keen interest in the transfer developments and excited about the names who have joined - or could join. "Everybody is talking about Terry, of course," said de Jong, whose side beat the Kaizer Chiefs 1-0 thanks to Stephen Ireland's goal in the second game of their South African tour on Tuesday.
"Manchester City are making a point that nothing is impossible. We can buy who we want and go for the best players in the league. "The financial aspect is a big plus, but the ideas behind the project and the excitement of the team is what made me choose to come to Manchester City. "It's the same aspect for Tevez, Adebayor and the other players in the team. The atmosphere within the team is great. Carlos is one of those people who fights for every inch on the pitch. He did it for Manchester United and I am happy he plays for us now.
"Adebayor will bring a lot of strength, he can hold the ball up, and don't forget Roque. Barry is an England international and well-respected. We are pleased they are on our side and not against us." If Hughes can land the two centre-backs he wants, it will finalise his squad for the season and allow him to clear the decks too. While not openly encouraging bids, he admits players will be sold and if Terry and Joleon Lescott arrive at Eastlands, the current captain Richard Dunne could depart with no shortage of takers for the Irishman. Terry will be the likely choice to take the armband ahead of Barry. Defensively, Tal ben Haim and the left-back Javier Garrido will be surplus to requirements.