Chelsea are preparing to fine Cole for tarnishing the club's image after it was claimed he misled a senior official over an alleged extramarital affair.
At the very least the 29 year-old will receive a fine of two weeks' wages - £200,000 - which is the maximum permitted under the agreement clubs have with the Professional Footballers' Association.
Indeed Cole, who will be given the chance to explain his conduct to the club's board on Feb 26, could face a suspension, while there have even been suggestions - played down on Monday - that such is Roman Abramovich's annoyance he could insist the player is sold.
Cole is reportedly unhappy that his treatment has differed markedly from that given to John Terry following revelations of his affair with Vanessa Perroncel.
Rather than the threat of a fine or suspension, Terry was given the very public backing of coach Carlo Ancelotti.
This has sparked frenzied speculation in Spain, with Real in particular keen to do a deal for Cole.
Reports claim the Madrid-based club are desperate for a world-class left-back and Cole could earn up to £150,000 a week at the Bernabeu.