Ashley Cole future: Chelsea to try and persuade left-back to stay at Stamford Bridge

The England defender is out of contract at the end of the season and has options elsewhere

Chief Football Correspondent

Chelsea still believe that they can convince Ashley Cole to stay at the club despite his reservations over his future following Jose Mourinho’s loss of faith in him earlier in the season.

The England left-back, 33, was in tears at the end of Sunday’s 0-0 draw with Norwich City at Stamford Bridge, the clearest sign yet that his eight years at the club might be drawing to a close. He has offers to play in Major League Soccer in the United States when he becomes a free agent in the summer but will also be in demand in the Premier League, with Liverpool interested.

Cole would be regarded as one of the best free acquisitions of the summer in Europe and having missed 18 straight games under Mourinho until his recent run in the team, the player himself has seen his future away from the club. There was no explanation for his exclusion from the team other than the form of Cesar Azpilicueta, a specialist right-back, and Mourinho has said all along that he wanted Cole to stay.

A change of heart before the Champions League away leg against Atletico Madrid last month, opened the door for Cole to return to the team. With Branislav Ivanovic suspended, Mourinho had originally planned to pick David Luiz at right-back and play Azpilicueta at left-back but changed his mind two days before the game and brought Cole back in from the cold.

He has been in the team since then but is still unsure of his future. The Chelsea hierarchy want the player to stay but ultimately it will be Cole’s decision and he wants to be assured of first-team football. There has been no issues with his commitment in training. John Terry has been offered a one-year contract to stay but only at half his current £150,000-a-week wages. The centre-back, who has had an outstanding season, is hopeful of staying but on better terms. The club feel they were bounced into giving him a new deal five years ago and are in no mood to rush to negotiate. Frank Lampard’s deal looks like the easiest one to complete, with willing on both sides to get it done.

 

Mourinho last night once again bemoaned Chelsea’s lack of a striker with a “killer instinct” and reiterated that the club will try to deal with that in the summer with Atletico Madrid’s Diego Costa the main target.

“Against the teams that are more defensive, more aggressive, more worried about trying to keep a clean sheet than really to play, we keep saying the same,” Mourinho said last night.

“We have good players, but we don’t have the kind of striker able to, in a short space, to make an action, to score a goal, to open the gate.

“In these kind of matches, you just need to open the gate. When you open the gate, the gate is open and you go win much more. We weren’t able to do that [against Norwich].

“We have to try to win as a team, to improve as a team, but also add the attacking player with that killer instinct and the number of goals that push teams to different levels. It’s something our club is going to try [to do], respecting obviously that we have good strikers.”

Chelsea beat Manchester City twice, Liverpool twice, took four points from matches with Arsenal, Everton, Tottenham and Manchester United, but recent defeats to Aston Villa, Crystal Palace, Sunderland and the draw with Norwich have proved costly.

“It’s much more difficult to get results against the big teams,” Mourinho added. “Mentally you have to be stronger, by the strategic point of view you have to be stronger too. When we have that amazing record against the top teams, I think it’s a fantastic achievement and a good base to start next season.”

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