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Joe Cole could ride merry-go-round
by Joe Addison, August 13th, 2008 7:30AM



[TRANSFER TALK] Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari has a plethora of options available to him in the midfield. At his disposal are Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Deco, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Florent Malouda and John Obi Mikel. That embarrassment of riches is leaving Joe Cole feeling a little nervous about his role in the team.

Add Chelsea's $40 million bid for Real Madrid winger Robinho and rumors that Scolari has been thoroughly unimpressed with Cole's preseason, and it's enough to make the 26-year-old ponder a transfer away from the London club.

Aston Villa has reportedly already submitted a $30 million bid for the England international, but it's unlikely Cole would be satisfied without the guarantee of Champions League soccer.

Step up Liverpool, the club that has been in a summer long battle for Villa's own Gareth Barry.

According to the English press, Manager Rafael Benitez has expressed an interest in Cole and is hoping to secure the player's signature for a cut-rate transfer fee. Cole would be guaranteed first-team soccer as well as the Champions League at Anfield.

But some reports have suggested that Cole is not to keen on a move north and that he'd like to stay in London. That's roused the interest of Tottenham manager Juande Ramos, who is supposedly looking into the possibility of bringing the Chelsea winger to White Hart Lane.

The only thing that is sure at this moment is that a number of clubs are involved in a highly complex transfer merry-go-round. If Villa does sell Barry, it will pursue Cole. If Cole moves to the Birmingham club, Chelsea will use the cash to purchase Robinho. In turn, Real Madrid will finish up a deal with Valencia midfielder David Silva, who recently turned down an offer from Manchester United.

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