Belfast Telegraph

Chelsea cool on Cole’s United switch rumour

Chelsea are placing little credence to reports that their England midfielder Joe Cole is a transfer target for Manchester United.

The Blues, while not publicly commenting on the suggestion that Cole will head for Old Trafford in the summer, were bullish enough to privately dismiss the prospect as nothing more than speculation.

However, the longer Cole does not resolve his contract impasse with Chelsea, the more feverish the speculation will become.

Talks on a new deal have dragged on and are no nearer being concluded. The 28-year-old will be out of contract in the summer and is desperate to convince England boss Fabio Capello he is worth a place in his World Cup squad this summer.

Chelsea coach Carlo Ancelotti insists that Cole is an integral part of his plans, but the player has yet to force his way back into the side on a regular basis since recovering from his knee ligament injury last year.

The club's assistant boss Ray Wilkins insists there is no problem with Cole's form and the player himself is understood to want to remain at Chelsea.

There is clear stalemate over his contract talks which revolve around him being part of Ancelotti's plans as much as it does a pay hike to around £120,000-a-week.

Cole has started just nine games under Ancelotti and finished only three of them. He has made another six substitute appearances and that lack of playing time is beginning to hinder his chances of an England recall.

Belfast Telegraph

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