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Arsenal Ups Price for Cole

Chelsea's public courting of Ashely Cole was met by firm resistance from Arsenal, his current employer, who responded to a $30 million bid for the player by upping his transfer fee to $45 million. Arsenal's stance will most likely do little more than anger Cole, since money matters very little to the club owned by Russian multibillionaire Roman Abramovich. Cole claims he shook hands on an agreement last year that would let him leave the club for $30 million, after he signed a 12-month contract extension. Chelsea, as ever, are confident of getting their man, and it seems that Arsenal are also resigned to losing the player who doesn't get along with either manager Arsene Wenger or chief executive David Dein. Cole is widely thought to be the last significant signing from Chelsea prior to the start of the season. The club has already added Michael Ballack, Andriy Shevchenko, Salomon Kalou and Jon Obi Mikel at a total of $91 million. The Times reports that Chelsea will have no problem meeting his $165,000-a-week wage demands. Cole is expected to be "fiercely critical" of Arsenal in his autobiography, which comes out next month .

Read the whole story at Times Online »

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