Cole's new Chelsea deal breaks £100,000 mark

Full-back lands improved salary but still lags behind Liverpool's Glen Johnson
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The Independent Online

Ashley Cole has signed a new four-year deal, Chelsea announced yesterday, that will keep him at the club until he is 33 years old but it still does not make him the best-paid full-back in the Premier League.

Glen Johnson, Cole's opposite number at right-back in the England team, is paid in excess of £120,000 a week. That deal was agreed because of Liverpool's desperation to make sure Johnson did not sign for Chelsea this summer, although their interest was not that strong.

Cole and Johnson's agent is Jonathan Barnett who had negotiated the Johnson deal and was keen to see Cole earn a similar sum at Chelsea. It is understood that Cole's salary is in excess of £100,000 a week, more than the £90,000 a week when he first signed for the club in 2006.

It is considerably more than the £55,000-a-week that he was famously offered by Arsenal that year. It was an offer that he memorably described in his autobiography as "taking the piss" because he believed that the club's then-vice-chairman David Dein had reneged on an original understanding.

Chelsea have been busy signing up the core of their squad to long-term deals. They extended Frank Lampard's contract last year and have since signed up Florent Malouda, John Obi Mikel, Didier Drogba and, most recently, John Terry – although he used the offer from Manchester City to improve his deal to £160,000 a week.

Joe Cole – who is one of the long-term injured – is in the last two years of his contract and is expected to be the next player to sign. Nicolas Anelka, who has two years left to run on his contract, will not be offered another deal until the end of the season.

Arsenal have also agreed new long-term deals with Nicklas Bendtner and Denilson, both of whom have established themselves in the first team over the last 12 months. Denilson, 21, is a regular starter in midfield while Bendtner, 21, played 50 times last season. Bizarrely, Arsenal chose not to disclose the length of the contracts but their standard deal is four years.

Arsène Wenger said: "Denilson's contribution to the club last season was outstanding. His work rate really was exceptional and it is valuable to have players that we know will perform to the very last minute in such a demanding league.

"Nicklas has impressed me highly with his application over the last season, you can see that he wants to compete at the highest level and win things with his team-mates," Wenger added. "He scored a number of important goals for us last season and he will look to replicate that again this year. However, it's not just about the goals, his all round contribution has improved."

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