Clubs on alert as Cole talks stall

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The Independent Football

Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City are taking a keen interest in Chelsea's contract talks with Joe Cole according to reports.

The England midfielder has been unable to agree terms with the Blues after demanding a weekly raise of £40,000 that would put him on a par with Nicolas Anelka and Michael Essien.

It is understood that Chelsea are refusing to meet his demand and the 28-year-old is refusing to back down, despite pledging his future to the club in the past.

Manager Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed the problem by saying: "The economic factor is an issue for the club to sort out."

Cole's contract expires in the summer meaning he will be able to leave on a free transfer. It's understood that a host of top sides are monitoring the situation, ready to pounce should he become available.