Chelsea have revealed that negotiations with Joe Cole over tying the midfielder down to a new Stamford Bridge contract have started.
The 27-year-old England international has proved his fitness following almost ten months on the sidelines with a serious knee ligament injury and the Blues are now keen to extend a contract which expires in the summer.
"Joe's looking to negotiate his new contract for the next four to five years," revealed chief executive Ron Gourlay.
"That process has started and Joe has made it very, very clear he wants to stay with the football club.
"I am sure over the coming months we will be able to work something out."
Cole joined the Blues in a £6million deal in 2003 and has gone on to make over 150 Premier League appearances.
Meanwhile, Gourlay has admitted that the Chelsea could sign new players in January if they successfully appeal a transfer ban imposed on them by FIFA after they were found guilty of illegally inducing French player Gael Kakuta to join them.
He added: "If there is an opportunity to buy a player who's key to taking us forward and fits in with the team we will decide between the group who's best on a case-by-case situation to deal with that."