Have Chelsea made Cole/Ballack error?
Ancelotti's reputation and job on the line Chelsea finally got round to announcing what all Chelsea-Mad fans already knew and that is Joe Cole won't be a Blue next season.With Roman Abramovich eventually deciding that Cole and less surprisingly Michael Ballack won't be given new contracts next season the media boys from SW6 were allowed to give us all the 'hot news' on their website.I remember in 2003 when Cole was presented to the media following his transfer from West Ham. He asked me how he thought it all went - "Did I do okay, Paul," he asked anxiously.I told him if he performed for the Blues as well as he handled the assembled hacks he would be a Chelsea legend.I think we all agree he has become a Chelsea legend - and Chelsea will be all the poorer for it.Chelsea will also have to find another Englishman following UEFA rules that each club must have a minimum of 10 home-grown players for next season.Ballack's release might not shock the Chelsea faithful but it might well reverberate on the balance sheet as the German captain is still a major commercial asset. German outfit adidas are, of course, a significant kit sponsor for the Blues as well as Germany.Ballack's departure was not, so my sources suggest a unanimous decision by the football club's board.There were some people who felt that Ballack, while waning in football terms, still provided much-needed footballing experience and a valuable commercial asset.It's believed that the footballing side of the board won the day in that decision over the suits who preside on the financial side.However with Joey and Ballack gone on July 1 - Chelsea will save in the region of £210k a week in wages - this tallies well with Chelsea going into "austerity mode" from a business point of view.From a footballing point of view, and how it will affect Abramovich's search for the Champions League title - well we will have to wait and see.Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti has won the day over these two players but he knows winning another Double will not save his Chelsea career. He must win the Champions League next season or he will be following Joey and Ballack down the Fulham Road.
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