Amidst speculation that Ashley Cole is currently unsettled at Chelsea, manager Carlo Ancelotti has said, in no uncertain terms that Ashley Cole will not be sold at any price. This follows interest in the England left-back from former Chelsea and new Real Madrid boss Jose Mourinho who brought Cole to Stamford Bridge in acrimonious circumstances in 2006.
Ancelotti has been quoted in The Telegraph as saying,
“There is no price that we would sell him at. We believe he is the best left-back in the world and because of this he will stay at this club. Nothing has changed in our position. Everyone can forget about Ashley Cole leaving this club.”
In the face of huge media scrutiny as a result of the break-up of his marriage to pop star Cheryl Tweedy, Cole has found himself to be increasingly disillusioned with life in England. His relationship with the English press and public reached a new nadir when Cole reportedly said “I hate England and the f***ing people!” in a private online message made public after England’s disappointing World Cup in South Africa.
Despite all of Cole’s outbursts, he has been a consistently excellent performer for Chelsea where he has cemented his reputation as being one of the finest left-backs in the world. Much of Chelsea’s attacking impetus last season came down the left flank with Cole and Florent Malouda combining to create a genuine wide threat that would be otherwise lacking in the team. In this way, Cole’s role in the Chelsea team is invaluable as he is an integral part of Chelsea’s style of play.
In some ways, Ancelotti’s stance on Cole could be borne out of necessity due to the lack of cover at the left-back position. Sure, Chelsea have Yuri Zhirkov as cover for Cole but left-back is not Zhirkov’s most natural position and has so far failed to make much of an impression on the Stamford Bridge faithful.
Ancelotti’s bullishness in regards to Cole’s future is also a reaction to the media circus surrounding Cole. With the lack of transfer dealings so far by the Chelsea boss, the manager has had to deal with questions regarding the futures of his existing players including rumours of Didier Drogba leaving for Manchester City along with Ricardo Carvalho’s supposed move to Real Madrid.
The fact that none of these deals have so far materialised is a sign of Ancelotti’s ambition. Chelsea are a club that are looking to continue and build on their successes and selling their best players would obviously be detrimental to that goal. Also, with club owner Roman Abramovich in charge of the club, finances are not a mitigating factor if Chelsea decide to sell any of their most prized assets.
Unless Cole publicly comes out and says otherwise, there is a good chance that he will remain a Chelsea player.