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Cole and Ballack to leave Chelsea

Chelsea are set to confirm the departures of Joe Cole and Michael Ballack on free transfers, according to reports.

The midfield duo are both out of contract at Stamford Bridge this month and have failed to agree new deals to stay with the recently crowned Premier League champions and FA Cup winners.

England international Cole had been locked in negotiations with club officials throughout the last season but the talks failed to reach an agreement.

Meanwhile, Germany captain Ballack was believed to be holding out for a two-year contract but the club were only offering a 12-month extension.

The 33-year-old midfielder will miss the World Cup with an ankle injury but has already been linked with several Bundesliga clubs back in his native Germany.

However, the departure of Cole is a more of a surprise following his resurgent end to the season which saw him claim a late place in England's World Cup squad.

Arsenal, Manchester United, Tottenham and former club West Ham have all been linked with moves for a player that assistant-manager Ray Wilkins claimed that coach Carlo Ancelotti was desperate to retain earlier in the year.

"We've obviously been in dialogue with Joe for months now and it's pretty evident that Carlo and myself would love Joe to stay, but it's down now to the club to see what we can do," he said.

"We sincerely hope Joe stays with us. He's a smashing guy and he's a wonderful footballer so we'll keep our fingers crossed."

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Article title: Cole and Ballack to leave Chelsea

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