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Is Chelsea Willing to Spend $19 Million Extra for Cole?

Over in LA, Chelsea took time out of their team-bonding trip to declare they would welcome Ashley Cole to Stamford Bridge with open arms. The Telegraph says the players' willingness to go on the record about a possible move means that Chelsea is reasonably certain it will sign the left-back from Arsenal by the end of the week. Meanwhile, other reports say the Gunners would offer Cole to just about anyone else for $18.6 million less, suggesting further that Arsenal directly contacted Real Madrid with just such an offer. These rumors were later dispelled by the news that Real's current left back, Roberto Carlos, will not be leaving the club after he was given a vote of confidence from new coach Fabio Capello. Now it seems likely that Arsenal's Cole will be Chelsea player by the end of the week, even though he returns to training with the Gunners today. In LA, where the English champions are practicing ahead of Saturday's game in Bridgeview, Ill., against the MLS All-Stars. Said Chelsea captain John Terry: "Ashley is a fantastic player. He is very solid and he's very quick and he is great one-versus-one going forward." Joe Cole, who would likely line up with Ashley on Chelsea's left side added, "Playing with Ashley makes it very easy for me because he's a great player. If he does come here then we will have two of the best left-backs in the country." Cole's arrival would likely mark the end of Chelsea's busy summer on the transfer market. Meanwhile, the last order of business for coach Jose Mourinho is to renew Ivory Coast striker Didier Drogba's contract. Drogba's agent dismissed the notion that the player was considering leaving the club.

Read the whole story at The Daily Telegraph »

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