- Premier League
Ashley Cole in potential Chelsea exit
Chelsea defender Ashley Cole could be set for a sensational departure from Stamford Bridge, as ESPN can reveal there are no talks at present to renew a contract that has just one year to run.
Cole, who is two England games away from 100 caps, has one season left on his current deal in west London and is seemingly happy to run down his contract and become a free agent next summer.
Considering the enormous controversy surrounding Chelsea's recruitment of Cole from Arsenal and the lengths the club went to in order to secure his services, it would be a major shock if the player, so synonymous with the Blues' recent success, could be walking away on a free transfer.
Barcelona, Real Madrid, Manchester City and wealthy clubs from China and the Middle East will be queuing up to recruit Cole on what could be phenomenal wages given there will be no transfer fee.
"Ashley is relaxed about his future, and will look at all the options when his contract expires," a source told ESPN. "He could go abroad, and there will not be any shortage of offers, but equally he could stay in the Premier League. He might be 31 but he is super fit and he is still recognised as the best left-back in the world.
"He has broken so many records and is still breaking them with club and country and there is sure to be huge demand for him. As it stands there have been discussions about renewing his contract, but there are no negotiations as it stands."
Chelsea are believed to be keen to keep Cole and extend his contract, although the emergence of England Under-21 defender Ryan Bertrand may prompt him to seek a new challenge elsewhere.