Belfast Telegraph

Liverpool want Ashley Cole

By Robert Jones

Ashley Cole will be back in a red shirt next season if Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers has his way.

Ulsterman Rodgers was keen on Cole even before the former England international left back announced that he was leaving Chelsea after eight years.

Liverpool want to boost their quota of experienced defenders with a Champions League campaign coming up next season and a two-year deal is on the table for 33-year-old Cole should he opt for the Reds.

The man who first made his name in the red of Arsenal is not short of other offers, however, and will make a firm decision on his future when he returns from a holiday in California.

Liverpool may be favourites to land him, but there could be up to seven other clubs who believe Cole still has something tangible to offer at the highest level.

Cole played 338 games for Chelsea after joining from the Gunners in exchange for William Gallas and £5m in 2006 — a move that, retrospectively, certainly favoured the men in blue both financially and otherwise. Monaco, who will compete in the Champions League next term and are backed by the Russian billionaire Dmitry Rybolovlev, have shown interest in Cole as have Paris Saint-Germain, who tried to sign England’s most capped left-back last summer.

And there could yet be interest from Real Madrid.

If Carlo Ancelotti, who coached Cole at Chelsea, retains his position beyond the end of the current campaign he could well make a move for Cole, while clubs in Major League Soccer are also monitoring the situation.

Meanwhile, Southampton's Luke Shaw – the youngster who helped hasten the end of Cole's international career – is looking for a new house in the greater Manchester area after making up his mind that he wants to join United.

Shaw indicated to the Saints that he was keen on a move to Old Trafford even before David Moyes was sacked; indeed, it was the Scot who started the ball rolling on what will ultimately be a £30m transfer.

New United manager Louis van Gaal could have vetoed the move but knows that 18-year-old Shaw, who is one of the hottest properties in Europe at the moment, will be an asset to the Red Devils for many seasons to come.

The transfer is expected to be completed in the next 10 days, with Shaw anxious to have everything tied up before the World Cup kicks off.

Van Gaal, incidentally, said he will share a drink with Sir Alex Ferguson when he arrives in Manchester following the tournament in Brazil.

"I will certainly go for a drink with him," the current Dutch team manager told reporters.

"I've often done it before. We are like each other; I always put more pressure on myself than other people do."

Asked what his objectives were, Van Gaal said: "That they (United) are back as soon as possible at the number one spot, (that) they (fans) will think they can be champions of England again within a year.

"Spain saw me succeed in my first year and in Germany as well. In England, it must also be possible."

Belfast Telegraph


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