Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Clubs on alert as Cole talks stall

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.