Chelsea: Is John Terry's Transfer to Aston Villa the Summer's Most Shocking Move?

In a summer when the big beasts of English football figure to spend a record amount, lowly Aston Villa may just have made one of the biggest noises of the transfer window.

John Terry, a multiple Premier League winner with Chelsea and a man with a Champions League trophy in his cabinet, chose on Monday to leave the comfy environs of English football's top division for a scrap through the mud with Villa.

The 36-year-old defender wasn't starved for choice. Attractive options presented themselves in the Premier League, not least with Bournemouth on the English south coast.

Yet the lure of Villa, Birmingham's biggest club, proved most difficult to resist. Historically one of English football's most successful teams, Villa's slide out of the Premier League was alarming if foreseeable for many years before it happened. Its first season in the Championship was barely mediocre. Villa finished 13th of 24 teams, with promotion back to the Premier League barely a dream after Christmas.

Terry met Steve Bruce, Villa's manager, over golf in Portugal earlier in the summer. That seems to be where a deal which would have once seemed to be fantastical came together. Terry, who at one stage was contemplating retirement, would spend a season attempting to exhort Villa out of the second tier of the English game. In return, he would collect wages of £60,000 a week.

Key here is the psychology of Terry, one of English football's most divisive figures. The former England captain could have taken a deal to move to Major League Soccer, or China, according to the Daily Mail.

But that wouldn't have sated Terry's competitive instinct that burns unusually strong into his late 30s.

"It was 22 years and I am very proud of that, I wish Chelsea well next season but now my thoughts are 100 percent here," Terry said at his unveiling on Monday. "I am delighted to be here as a player. It is obviously a huge club, I had a few conversations with Steve [Bruce] over the summer. I am very hungry to still play at the top with a club and a manager who still has the same ambition as me."

Two parts of Terry's character reveal themselves here. There's the almost fanatical loyalty to Chelsea. And the refusal to give up the ghost of a playing career with its best days behind it, however Terry and Villa might protest.

It's an unfortunate fact tied to the tribalism of football support that Terry's misdemeanors, including a ban in 2012 for racially abusing Queens Park Rangers' Anton Ferdinand, may be pushed into the recesses of a collective memory should he play well, consistently, for Villa.

In its desperation to reach the Premier League again, with the riches that brings, Villa is prepared to overlook that side of Terry's character for the one that makes the members of a dressing room stand an inch or two taller. It's a transfer that poses so many as yet unanswered questions. Lowly Villa just chucked a grenade into the transfer market. How the pieces fall will determine the club's future.