Ashley Cole is on the verge of completing a free transfer to Liverpool according to reports, but a last ditch effort to keep him in the Premier League could be mounted by Liverpool in the next few days.
Cole is a free agent after he left Chelsea at the end of last season, bringing an end to his eight-year spell with the Blues. His Stamford Bridge exit coincided with the end of his England career, after Roy Hodgson’s decision to leave him out of the England squad for the World Cup led to Cole’s international retirement.
According to the Telegraph, the 33-year-old has been offered a three-year contract to join Serie A side Roma, as well as offers on the table from the Major League Soccer league in the United States.
It is believed that Roma’s ability to offer Cole Champions League football could be the deciding factor in the move, given that their second-place finish in the Italian league last season sealed a return to Europe’s elite competition.
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
The 10 best free agents on the market this summer
1/8 Guillermo Ochoa
The Mexican goalkeeper rose to fame thanks to his brilliant performance against Brazil in the World Cup. The 28-year-old, who left Ajaccio at the end of the season, has been linked with a move to the Premier League.
2/8 Rio Ferdinand
Both halves of Manchester United’s famous central defence for the past eight years are leaving this summer. Nemanja Vidic is off to Italy to play for Internazionale while Rio Ferdinand was told at the weekend that United would not be renewing his contract. Ferdinand said last week that if United did not offer him a new deal that he would be “open to offers” but joked that he “would not go below the Conference”. That is unlikely to be an issue as there should be no shortage of clubs looking for a defender of his experience. Queen’s Park Rangers, should they come up, are managed by Ferdinand’s old mentor Harry Redknapp, while even bigger teams like Arsenal could be tempted.
3/8 Diego Lugano
The Uruguay captain hit the headlines in Brazil for the wrong reasons as his complete denial that team-mate Luis Suarez bit Giorgio Chiellini when everyone else could see it. His contract with West Brom is up for renewal, but the 33-year-old is unlikely to remain in the Premier League.
4/8 Nicolas Anelka
Sacked by West Brom last season for his controversial 'Quenelle' gesture, Anelka has not yet confirmed whether he will sign for a new club - should anyone want him - or announce his retirement.
5/8 Frank Lampard
As with Terry and Cole, Lampard’s Chelsea deal expires at the end of the season and he is likely to follow Terry in signing a new deal at Stamford Bridge. Lampard is not the dynamic presence in midfield that he once was, and he started only 20 Premier League games this season. But as his inclusion in Roy Hodgson’s World Cup squad demonstrated, his experience and presence are invaluable and he is more than worth having around. That said, if he does not renew at Chelsea, there would surely be offers from abroad, not least from long-time suitors LA Galaxy.
6/8 Marouane Chamakh
The Moroccan striker has completed a one-year deal at Crystal Palace that could barely have gone much better. Since he was entrusted with a role as a withdrawn striker by Tony Pulis in December, he has been excellent, scoring five goals and helping to drag Palace out of the relegation zone and into safety. Chamakh will be discussing his future with the club soon but he said last week that agreeing a new deal at Palace was his “priority”, after building an excellent rapport with the fans and playing his best football since his arrival in England from France in 2010. If not, he would like to stay in the Premier League.
7/8 Samuel Eto'o
The striker did not cover himself in glory at the 2014 World Cup, as Cameroon's campaign was blighted by a money row over bonuses and poor performances in Brazil that saw them eliminated at the group stages. However, the Champions League winner will still have a number of clubs interested in his services, with Arsenal being linked in recent weeks.
8/8 Nicklas Bendtner
Despite a fairly successful season by his standards, Nicklas Bendtner is on his way out of Arsenal. The Dane has scored twice this year, in wins over Hull and Cardiff, but he fell behind Yaya Sanogo in the pecking order while not always conducting himself immaculately off the pitch. He turned down moves away from Arsenal last summer that would have meant pay cuts but this summer he must be hopeful of maximising his value as a free agent.
The report goes on to suggest that Roma are able to offer the left-back a similar amount to his reported £150,000-a-week salary he earned at Chelsea, and should negotiations run smoothly the transfer could go through as early as Tuesday.
Roma manager Rudi Garcia has been lucratively rewarded for his excellent performance last season with a new contract and the promise of a transfer budget of £30m. A left-back does appear to be the main area of concern for Garcia given current incumbent Federico Balzaretti’s injury troubles over the last season.
The former Three Lions veteran, who amassed 107-caps during his England career, has just returned from a holiday in the US, but despite talk that he could head to the MLS it appears a move to Rome is on the horizon.
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