The agent of Joe Cole has dismissed reports claiming the former Chelsea midfielder had agreed terms with AC Milan, and suggested the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City may lose out on the 28-year-old’s coveted signature because they can not guarantee Champions League football next season. Tottenham Hotspur and Arsenal are the current frontrunners for the England international after Harry Redknapp and Arsene Wenger both openly expressed their admiration for the former West Ham United prodigy, and although Manchester United have allegedly ruled themselves out of the running, it is perhaps too early to discount Sir Alex Ferguson.
Cole’s Chelsea contract expired today after he failed to agree an extension at Stamford Bridge, and the player’s agent, David Giess, suggested the midfielder’s next move would be founded on football reasons and not financial ones. Giess claimed the long-serving former Chelsea star wanted to play Champions League football which would seemingly rule out both Liverpool and Manchester City who finished seventh and fifth in the Premier League last season. The midfielder’s agent also intimated that his client wanted to remain in England, despite reportedly lucrative advances from Serie A giants AC Milan, and therefore the race for Cole would appear to be between Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Manchester United.
Since Chelsea announced their decision to withdraw Cole’s contract offer after lengthy and ultimately unsuccessful negotiations, the former West Ham United starlet has been one of the most in-demand players on the continent. A host of the Premier League’s top clubs have been linked, but comments from his agent, would on the surface at least, appear to rule Manchester City and Liverpool out. Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and possibly Manchester United would now appear best placed to sign the former Chelsea player, and in the past Harry Redknapp, Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson have all been admirers of the mercurial playmaker.
Cole’s underwhelming but ultimately brief showings at the World Cup finals, where he failed to start in any of England’s four games, actually saw the midfielder’s stock rise because of the mediocrity displayed by those picked ahead of him. Despite Chelsea’s decision to release the player, he remains one of the most coveted players in the Premier League, with the likes of Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Manchester United, Liverpool and Manchester City all at one stage or other being linked.
Giess told Soccernet: "Football is the most important thing to Joe and continuing to play in the Champions League is high on his priorities."
Cole’s agent also played down reports linking him with a move to AC Milan, dismissing talk of a profitable three year deal worth £3 million a year as "pure press speculation". The ex-Chelsea star’s agent hinted a move to the continent was unlikely.