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What's happening with Ashley Cole?

As the clock ticks on the transfer window (a mere 12 days are left before it slams shut), we are reduced to reading the tea-leaves and the decrypt public pronouncements to try to evaluate what`s happening with this particular transfer.

Yesterday, The Guardian reported that Arsène Wenger had asked the Arsenal board to resolve the Cole case as quickly as possible … by selling the player. The implication was clear: hurry up and seal a deal with Chelsea, as prolonging the negotiations was unsettling the squad. Wenger was said to be annoyed that Arsenal Chair David Dein was being so intransigent.

But later in the day, a new twist in the story emerged: Arsenal were trying to sell Ashley Cole to any other club than Chelsea, and had instructed agents to try to find an alternative buyer, presumably as quickly as possible in order to hasten the player`s departure. Arsenal were prepared to accept less than the pricetag that they had imposed on Chelsea if the buyer was, say, Inter Milan.

All this came on top of reports that, despite Chelsea preparing a new, improved bid, Chelsea were still not meeting the price that Arsenal had set. Chelsea had already complained that Arsenal were failing to budge. 10 days ago, they stated that they would not pay £1 more. This was mere bluff, they were prepared to table a bigger offer. Arsenal, on the other hand, were not moving.

Today, however, it is Cole himself who seems to be trying to backtrack on his previous suggestions that he would never play for Arsenal again. Releasing a statement through his management company (Stellar Group), Ashley declared that he was ready to play for Arsenal in their opening game against Aston Villa tomorrow. "I have made myself available for selection this weekend and it is now up to the manager whether he decides to play me."

Arsène made up his mind, though, as to what to do with Ashley`s peace offering: he declined it. Although Arsène was prepared to state that "If he doesn't go, of course he's a great player", he also said that "He has permission to go somewhere if he wants to do it, but if there is not an opportunity for him and the club, he will stay at the club." But he also omitted Cole from the squad list of players for this weekend`s game.

Cole was prepared to state that "I maintain I have no problem with the fans and the manager: they have both been very supportive of me throughout my career, in particular I hope the fans understand where my grievances lie." Apparently it was to ensure that the Arsenal fans don`t show their disapproval of Ashley Cole (on the opening game at Arsenal`s new stadium) that Cole has been left out of the squad.

José suggested that Chelsea would be signing a new left-back. Asked if he would be signing a new one before the transfer window shuts, he evaluated Chelsea`s chances with "I think so. If we do it before the 31st, we are okay". No specific mention of the name Ashley Cole, though.

Although none of this is very conclusive, the suggestion is that the deal will not happen now. Congratulations to plucky little Arsenal, who look to have stood up to Chelsea (but will have on their hands a player who will suffer abuse from Arsenal fans for the foreseeable future. That is, if he lines up in the first team). Chelsea seem to have grown tired of Arsenal`s posturing and, whilst they have tabled a serious bid, have met with clowns on the other side of the table.

If by chance a deal should be made, it will have to be done quickly: Arsenal will want to be able to spend some of their money during this transfer window. All the indications are that there won`t be any Cole purchase. Hopefully, if that is the case, Chelsea will be looking elsewhere.




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The Journalist

Writer: Cendrowski  Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Friday August 18 2006

Time: 3:50PM

Your Comments

Elsewhere! But where - any ideas anyone?
merlin
Lahm or offer billy to Inter and take grosso, personally i would like to c Chivu!!!
Mikeyblue
EuroBlue has a thing about Chivu as well! How good is he?
merlin
This thing has been dragging on so long that I'm just bored with it! Let's get this party started!
Westl
And lets all get behind Wayne Bridge!
merlin
Cole is good and English.....so is Bridge - he should be given a good run - cant do worse than DH did. Lahm is too small. Still need a back up though as its taking the ***** to keep playing Billy there! We missed out on Zambrotta....
blumoon
who the **** is Boulahrouz?
blumoon
Kahlid the Cannibal! I REALLY wanted Zambrotta, too. I hope for Cashley, but I'd take Lahm. Gallas is a head case?!
USA
mourinho has stopped signing 'galacticos'....i think khalid the cannibal is a possible replacement for gallas....or maybe he is to play left back and no more A.Cole saga
Adilson
I doubt I'll find many in agreement, but I wouldn't mind Sorin personally, nor would I mind taking someone like Marcel Jansen as a backup to Bridge.
Slein Jinn
The Cannibal will be back up for most positions. Sure Zambrotta would have been the dream, but JM didn't want to poach Juventus (why not?). I like Lahm much more than Cole, Chivu is too much a central defender -do we need that. Give Manciennes a couple of games in the Cola Cup so we can see him grow.
Lindy
Mourinho buys players at their peak or approaching it, and less than 28 years old, preferably unkown, and with lots of technical skill and ability and willingness to track back. That means the 'bodies behind the ball' defence with upto 8 players in the defending third at any one time. Snatch posession, use wingers to attack fast was the style he preferred, and 'boring' or not, it was effective.
With that in mind, look at Juve players and you can see... not very much youth, or speed. Eg. Ibrahimovich is lazy, greedy (like a proper striker), and doesn't track back. Vieira wouldn't have come. Cannavaro is 32. etc etc. The skill is undoubtedly there, but not Mourinho style. At least not the earlier tactics.
no13
Did you see Robben tracking back yesterday? A pleasure to watch!
Westl
Chivu is the NUTZ!!! He would be a great addition as he plays centre and left back!
Mikeyblue
all i can say is it is annoyin arsenal fans as much as it is you, i want to see cashely (money grabbing) cole gone, hes just going to drag arsenal down, but hell rot with you lot anyway so better off with you
Walcott
 

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