Cole good enough for England but not Chelsea
Strange world of SW6 Joe Cole has played his last game for Chelsea and knows as he jets off to South Africa tomorrow that he won’t have the chance to say his goodbyes to the Chelsea faithful. While Cole is good enough for his country, it seems he's not good enough for his club. Currently, England has four Chelsea players in the squad for the World Cup; John Terry, Ashley Cole, Frank Lampard and Coley. But by the time the players return from Africa, that will be reduced to three as Joey Cole will have a new club to join up to for pre-season. Spurs have effectively ruled Cole out of the reckoning by signing up Luca Modric for an additional six years, so it’s down to Arsenal, Liverpool and Manchester United on the domestic front. Cole’s footballing preference would be to head north to Old Trafford and he will be bending the ear of Rio Ferdinand whist on international duty as to how he has settle to life outside of the capital. get his way, Chelsea’s chief exectutive Ron Gourlay has already lined up Cole’s replacement. They have lodged a £5m bid for midfielder Yossi Benayoun which has been rejected. But they will up that to £8m for the 30-year-old. Chelsea will see this as a bit of good business as they will only have to pay the Liverpool player a fraction of the £100k a week that Cole was on. Chelsea fans will of course have noticed that Cole at 28 was about to enter his prime as a player while Benayoun, two years older struggled to get into a mediocre Liverpool outfit. Cole’s revelatory performances towards the end of the season arguably won the Double for the Blues and his outstanding match-wining performance against Japan earned him plaudits by the press and a seat on the plane to South Africa. Chelsea skipper John Terry’s not so-veiled comments to Gourlay that Chelsea must keep Cole have fallen on deaf ears as the Blues seek to lower their wage levels. So while fans pay more to watch the Blues they will be seeing players on lower wages. Not bad from a business point of view. So where will Cole go? It’s still possible that Chelsea will, at the last, minute find a way of keeping the England midfielder, but if not? Arsenal would provide Cole with a footballing environment where his talents will be allowed to be expressed. Cole would be a fine replacement for Barcelona-bound Cesc Fabregas and will be welcomed by the Arsenal supporters. But they would struggle to meet Cole’s wage demands. Liverpool and Manchester United are desperate to land Cole but out of the sky blue could be Manchester City. They would easily match Cole’s wishes for a £120 a week, four-year deal. Already City have taken ex-Blues Shaun Wright-Philips and Wayne Bridge and would see it as a feather in their cap to snatch Cole from the noses of their deadly rivals United and it would signal their intent to break into the top four next season. United is Cole’s number one choice, Arsenal a close second – Liverpool third but City look like the club most ably to meet Cole’s requirements. Chelsea should do the honourable thing and resign Cole – that’s what all the players and fans want. But Chelsea has given Carlo Ancelotti the final say and he simply does not rate Cole.
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