Joe Cole refuses to sign deal until he's back in Chelsea's first team
So eager was Joe Cole to be brought on as a substitute for Chelsea against Atletico Madrid in midweek that he even warmed up on the pitch during the match. But Cole did not appear. And although the 27 year-old midfielder is intent on staying at Stamford Bridge he will not sign a new contract until he has had a run of games. Given he is in the final year of his current deal it's an unusual situation, especially for such a high-profile player. Related ArticlesAbel Resino sacked by Atletico MadridIt's do or die for JohnsonLiverpool must place trust in BenitezKing reigns for RedknappCahill: Everton served wake-up callVilla's case for defenceChelsea face Blackburn Rovers on Saturday evening and Cole is expected to make his first start in the Premier League since January when he suffered cruciate ligament damage to his knee. The appearance is another significant step in his rehabilitation and will prove, Chelsea hope, that he is in Carlo Ancelotti's plans. But Cole has also indicated that he expects a significant increase on his current £80,000-a-week wages. He wants to move into the bracket of Chelsea's highest earners which includes John Terry, Didier Drogba, Michael Ballack, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole who all earn more than £100,000-a-week. Given his age this contract will be the most significant of his career and his status both at Chelsea, he was the 2008 player of the year, and with England, Cole feels he deserves to be rewarded. An offer was tabled in the summer with Cole delaying signing it because he had not returned to fitness following the damage to his knee ligaments suffered in January. The problem for Chelsea now is that, in theory, Cole could speak to other clubs in January. He is highly unlikely to do that and, given his strong affiliation with Chelsea, will, unless something drastic happens, sign a new four-year contract. But with the clock ticking the player knows he is in a powerful position. There is also a new factor the Fifa transfer ban which Chelsea are challenging but which, at present, will rule them out from buying and selling players in the next two transfer windows. Chelsea's appeal to the Court of Arbitration in Sport is likely to lead to the ban being frozen in January which could result in a frenzy of activity. But, even then, there is a limit to the changes that can be made. It all strengthens Cole's position and he will also reflect that when he asked for a new deal the summer before last he was told to wait. In fairness, Chelsea are relaxed. They accept Cole's argument that he wants to play and see how Ancelotti wants to use him while the manager has also made it plain that he rates the player highly and is holding him back to make sure he is 100 per cent fit. Ancelotti, who is adamant that Ricardo Carvalho was rested and not dropped against Atletico on Wednesday, plans to use Cole at the tip of his midfield diamond in the 'sausage roll' (in the hole) as Cole himself terms it which would appear to be the role he was born. At present, it is occupied by Deco but it's questionable whether the Portuguese's international's form and fitness will hold. With Chelsea losing players to the African Cup of Nations then Cole will be even more important. But the club has to be careful. Cole wants to play, especially in a season that culminates in a World Cup Finals, and will not be happy to be confined to a bit-part role having worked so hard to shed himself of that when Jose Mourinho was manager. Chelsea hope that Ancelotti will be in the dugout despite the fact that he had to return to Italy because of illness to his 86-year-old father, Guiseppe.
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