Mourinho gives Gunners weekend deadline over Cole

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The Independent Online

Jose Mourinho has urged Arsenal to make a decision on the potential transfer of Ashley Cole before the end of the week.

The Chelsea manager admitted that his club have made an offer for the England international but insist they are starting to consider other options. "It is in their hands and we have to wait," Mourinho said after a 1-0 victory over Feyenoord in a friendly match here, which was secured by Frank Lampard's strike.

"What can I do? Arsenal has an offer from Chelsea. If they accept, they accept, if they don't accept, they don't. If Arsenal decide to sell the player, that is OK. But the player belongs to Arsenal, we cannot do anything about it."

Mourinho said he was ready to look elsewhere "in a couple of days" if a transfer fails to materialise, as he is determined that Wayne Bridge should have competition for the left-back position. "We have other options," he said. "We are waiting for decisions but we have other options. We cannot play a whole season only with Wayne. If we have no solution about Ashley Cole in a couple of days, we turn the corner and see other faces. Yes, there is a space in our squad for another left-back because we only have one real left-back."

Arsenal's Thierry Henry admitted that the loss of Cole would hit the club hard especially if he goes to Chelsea. "I don't know what is happening with Ashley," he said. "But if he goes we would be losing one of the team's best assets for the second year running.

"The loss of Patrick Vieira was massive like it would be if Ashley goes. If he goes to Chelsea it will look like we are trying to catch a team at the same time as giving them one of our best assets. It would be difficult to take."

Mourinho also denied that William Gallas will be sold as part of the Cole deal. The defender was not included in the squad that travelled here, and did not appear in the United States last week. Asked whether his absence could have any implications on his future, Mourinho said: "No. Gallas had an unbelievable holiday I believe. I hope he enjoyed it very much in Guadeloupe, which is a fantastic place to be on holiday, so he wanted to stay there for a long time. He trained with us yesterday for the first time. He is not in condition to play."

Mourinho also said he was not after another striker despite Hernan Crespo joining Internazionale. "We are just short at the back," he said. We need one more player."

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