- Premier League
Cole rejects one-year Chelsea deal
Ashley Cole has rejected a new one-year contract from Chelsea, ESPN can reveal, and could leave in January if no agreement is reached.
Cole has baulked at the offer of a one-year extension to his current deal, part of Chelsea's revamped contract policy which makes the offer a matter of course for players over the age of 30.
Former Chelsea managers Jose Mourinho, now at Real Madrid, and Carlo Ancelotti of Paris Saint-Germain will no doubt be monitoring the situation, with Cole potentially available as a free agent in the summer should Chelsea fail to strike a deal with the left-back.
Cole, 31, earns around £130,000 a week at Stamford Bridge on his current deal, and Blues manager Roberto Di Matteo stated on Sunday that he was "optimistic" that Cole's contract would be sorted out and that he will stay.
But the offer of a one-year deal has been firmly rejected, with the length of the contract proving to be the sticking point.
"The club have a policy that anyone who is over 30 years of age is offered a short-term new contract," a source told ESPN. "Ashley is 31, but he is fit and still at the peak of his form, but so far all that has been offered is a one-year deal. Whether that included a pay rise is irrelevant as Ashley was hoping for more than one extra year.
"As it stands that leaves Ashley free to talk to clubs and to actually sign for a new club from January onwards, and that clearly is an option unless something changes from Chelsea's end.
"There are no further negotiations planned as far as can be seen, but that now depends on Chelsea.
"Clearly this policy resulted in Didier Drogba leaving the club in the summer and it could mean Ashley leaving."
Cole has previously expressed his desire to see out his career with Chelsea. Di Matteo clearly believes that the player wants to stay at Stamford Bridge, and the club will hope he can be convinced to stay.
But the ESPN source added: "These type of issues are not dealt with by the manager but by the club, and therefore it is not about whether the manager is optimistic or not.
"Everyone knows Ashley wants to stay, but as yet the club have offered a one-year deal and that was immediately turned down."