It has been a rather eventful few weeks for Chelsea and former-England international Ashley Cole.
Last week the full-back retired from international football, after he was told by England boss Roy Hodgson that he would not be in the Three Lions squad for this summer’s World Cup in Brazil.
With his Chelsea contract expiring this summer, Cole revealed that he was not expecting to stay at Stamford Bridge via a social media website on Monday, before he revealed that he was still thinking over his options.
It seems that the most likely outcome is that Cole will be leaving the Blues this summer.
At 33, Cole’s next deal could very well be his last one. The veteran full-back made just 15 Premier League starts and a further two substitute appearances, the fewest of his career so far.
Spanish right-back Cesar Azpilicueta was played out-of-position at left-back for much of the season, which must have hurt Cole. Blues boss Jose Mourinho seems to have decided that Cole is no longer in his plans.
Ashley Cole has vast experience both in club and international football. The full-back has won 107 caps for England and made 399 Premier League in his long club career. Cole’s experience is something that money cannot buy and can prove vital in big games.
Despite not having regular first team football this season, Cole is still a quality left-back. Even England’s two World Cup left-backs Luke Shaw and Leighton Baines have praised the veteran star in recent weeks and months.
Cole still has undoubted talent and that talent and his vast experience has been wasted this season sitting on the Chelsea bench for much of the campaign. Cole still has a good sense of positioning and has lost little of his pace.
His consistency and reliability have made Cole one of the best left-backs in world football over the last decade. I would even suggest that he is still one of the best players in his position, despite his omission from England’s World Cup squad.
Cole has enjoyed a trophy-laden career. In his eight years at Chelsea he has won the Premier League, Champions League and FA Cup on four occasions, among other trophies. The full-back also won the Premier League title twice at Arsenal and FA Cup three times.
It is fair to say that Cole has enjoyed a highly-successful career so far and even if he did not win any more trophies he must be happy with his medal collection.
Since it became clear he may be leaving the club Cole has been linked with moves to both Manchester United and Liverpool. The two North West giants could have a problem filling that left-back spot next season.
Manchester United is believed to be close to sealing a deal with Southampton for England starlet Shaw. United’s first choice in that position Patrice Evra is out-of-contract this summer and expected to leave the club.
Meanwhile, Liverpool is also looking to strengthen at full-back. Spaniard Jose Enrique spent much of last season out injured and right-back Jon Flanagan finished the season playing out-of-position at left-back.
Both teams are in need of strengthening at left-back and Cole could provide both teams with the ideal short-term solution to their left-back problems.
Big spending French outfit Monaco appear to be the favourites to sign Cole this summer though. They could provide him with one last big pay day and Champions League football next season. I am sure the lifestyle of living in the principality could also prove attractive to Cole.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho may have written-off Ashley Cole, but the full-back still has plenty left to offer both in the Premier League and Champions League. It would not surprise me if the full-back continued playing at the top level for the two or three years at the top.
Chelsea’s loss could very well be one of their rivals gain next season and I am sure Ashley Cole will continue to be as reliable and consistent next season, wherever he plies his trade.
Where will Ashley Cole be playing next season?