John Terry's career still in limbo as Aston Villa can't afford Chelsea legend's £60,000 wage demands
Bruce is keen to bring the ex-Chelsea captain back to Villa Park to boost the club's promotion bid.
But despite being taken over by billionaire owners Nassef Sawiris and Wes Edens, Bruce does not have an open cheque book to work with.
Villa are still rebuilding behind the scenes with FFP rules hanging over them after coming close to going into administration this summer while Tony Xia was in sole charge.
They also have less parachute money than last season after falling to win promotion back to the Premier League.
Terry, 37, has hinted he has ‘unfinished business’ at Villa.
And when SunSport exclusively revealed the Chelsea legend turned down a £1.8million in wages to move to Spartak Moscow at the 11th hour this week, he was tipped to go back to Villa.
Bruce sent out an SOS to free agent Terry before the player travelled to Russia, with Villa short on defenders.
But Bruce said: “If all was right and we could afford John we’d have him back in a heartbeat – then again, so would 24 managers in the Championship.
“The most important thing is what John wants to do next and the only way we can leave it.
“We’re not in a position to offer him the level of salary we could last year.
“Last year we had parachute payments and things like that. But I don’t think it’s all down to money.
“It is all down to what John requires.
“Certainly we could not compete with the Russians, from what I saw.
“But I wasn't in a position to offer John anything at the end of last season when the club was in trouble.
“The most difficult conversation I had was telling John that I was not in a position to offer him a contract next season.
“At that time, nobody really knew the full extent of the problems that the club was in.
“He turned Russia down through family reasons and I think that’s what’s the over-riding decision now – what is right for himself and his family.
“In the back of my mind, I didn’t think we’d re-visit it."
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