The prospect of John Terry dropping down into the Championship next season appears to be moving closer to becoming a reality, with reports suggesting that Aston Villa have now presented the outgoing Chelsea captain with an official contract offer.
The Telegraph understands that Terry, who will end his trophy-laden 22-year association with the Premier League champions next week when his current deal expires, is weighing up a proposal that could be worth as much as £4m-per-year ($5m) with incentives.
They further report that the former England skipper has received more than 10 offers in total, with Villa's local rivals Birmingham City, now under the management of Harry Redknapp, also said to be interested along with former front-runners Bournemouth, Paul Clement's Swansea City and West Bromwich Albion.
A decision is expected to be made within the next fortnight, with clubs from China and Major League Soccer (MLS) also believed to be on his trail.
Links between free-agent-to-be Terry, who earns approximately £50,000-a-week at Chelsea, and Villa ramped up earlier this month after the former and brother Paul were pictured enjoying a round of golf with Steve Bruce and son Alex in Portugal.
When asked about Terry's potential next destination by a supporter on Twitter on Wednesday (21 June), social media-friendly Villains owner Tony Xia channeled his inner Jose Mourinho by refusing to discuss a player currently contracted to another club.
"Quoted Jose M. 'I am not going to talk about a player who still belongs to another club' as JT's contract with CFC expires until 1/7," he said.
After a truly abysmal 2015-16 campaign brought an end to their 28-year stay in the top-flight, Villa, who replaced Roberto Di Matteo with Bruce in October, could only muster an underwhelming 13th-place finish in the Championship last term despite spending heavily on a raft of new signings including the likes of Ross McCormack, Jonathan Kodjia, Scott Hogan and James Chester.
Anything less than a sustained promotion push is unlikely to be tolerated next season and former Chelsea stalwart Ray Wilkins, who served as an assistant at Villa Park during the ill-fated eight-month reign of Tim Sherwood in 2015, believes Terry can be a fantastic influence both on and off the pitch.
"I think it could be a great move for him," he told Talksport. "He had a round of golf with Brucey not so long ago, so I think Steve got into him straight away, as Harry [Redknapp] tried to do also.
"But Steve is looking beyond the playing side for John, obviously taking a step down into that division, he would cope with that no problem. But to have him around the place and the experience he will also bring into the dressing room will be absolutely incredible."