And City’s most recent signing, £25m striker Emmanuel Adebayor, said he believed Terry would follow him to Eastlands.
Adebayor said: ‘I think there is a big possibility John will join us.
Eastlands bound? John Terry could be off to City for a British record transfer fee
‘People didn’t believe six months ago that Carlos Tevez or myself would be playing here. We have come to Manchester City to be THE big team. Why shouldn’t John be persuaded to come here, too?’
New Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti has staked his credibility on Terry staying at Stamford Bridge and resisting the temptation to double his £135,000-a-week wages by moving to City.
Terry’s refusal again yesterday to commit himself publicly to Chelsea has strengthened City’s confidence that he will return to England this week with an open mind, despite Chelsea trying to force him to declare his intentions.
But Ancelotti, speaking in the United States after Chelsea had defeated his former club AC Milan 2-1 with goals by Didier Drogba and £18m debutant Yuri Zhirkov, said: ‘For sure, Terry will stay at Chelsea. We have never had a problem. You have to have trust in me.’
Moments later Terry left the M and T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, where Chelsea fans had displayed banners reading ‘JT Captain Leader Legend’ and ‘JT Please Stay’, without offering as much as a word about his future.
Chelsea appear confident Terry will not risk ruining his reputation as ‘Mr Chelsea’ by asking for a transfer, which is the only way they would allow him to leave. A source close to Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich said: ‘I think he will stay.’
And Drogba, asked if he would take over as captain if Terry departed, insisted: ‘He’s not going to leave. He’s our captain. There’s only one captain.’
But City think Chelsea’s attempts to force Terry into a corner could backfire and regard his failure to talk throughout the team’s pre-season tour of America as a sign he wants to investigate further the prospect of moving to the north-west.
After a third and final World Football Challenge match in Dallas early tomorrow morning against Mexican side Club America, Chelsea return home with less than two weeks to go before the Community Shield against champions Manchester United.
It is unthinkable that Terry would be allowed to go into that game without having reached a decision, and the situation is expected to be resolved before Saturday’s friendly at Reading.