Wilkins upbeat over Cole future

Chelsea are desperate to keep soon to be out-of-contract midfielder Joe Cole, according to assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

Cole's future at Stamford Bridge has come under the spotlight in recent days following reports of a breakdown in negotiations over a new contract.

The 28-year-old midfielder's current deal runs out at the end of the campaign.

"I know we as a management group are desperate to keep him," explained Wilkins.

"He is a very valuable asset to us, but it is a contractual situation that I am sure he and the club will sort out at some stage.

"We sincerely hope so. We would love to keep Joe and I am sure they will sort that out."

Cole joined from West Ham United in 2003 for a fee of £6million and the attacking midfielder made more than 350 first-team appearances for the Blues.

This season he has been used sparingly by first-team coach Carlo Ancelotti after returning from a lengthy absence caused by a serious knee ligament injury.

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