Who does Joe Cole think he is?

The Joe Cole contract saga has dragged on for far too long at his current club Chelsea and all parties concerned will be relieved when the ordeal finally comes to a head.

The midfielder has just earned a spot in Fabio Capello’s final 23-man England squad for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, so it is unlikely that he will make a decision on his future until the Three Lions’ involvement in the tournament is over and the squad returns home.

It is widely expected that he will leave Stamford Bridge in order to find first team football and after countless stories of disagreements over wages. The Sunday Mirror reported that Chelsea were so offended by Cole’s ridiculous wage demands (apparently he wants parity with the club’s top stars) that they rescinded an offer of £100,000-a-week contract, who exactly does he think he is?

The tricky England man is a good player, one which I admire, but where does he get off thinking he is in the same bracket as a Frank Lampard or club captain John Terry?

He’s certainly not worth £100,000-£120,000-a-week in wages as he spends more time on the bench or on the treatment table than on the pitch for Chelsea. Also, it is already something of an injustice that Cole earns more than Petr Cech, Florent Malouda and Michael Essien (the best player on Chelsea’s books) as it stands.

However, I would like to think that it is not about the money for him, it’s about playing first team football. I doubt he will be able to force his way into Chelsea’s first XI again and perhaps he thinks that too, so a move to one of the interested clubs Arsenal, Tottenham, Manchester United or Liverpool could tempt him.

I’d expect that it is most likely the north London clubs (Arsenal and Spurs) are leading the race for his signature as he is settled in the capital and it is doubtful he’d want to uproot his young family up north. A reunion with former manager Harry Redknapp is very much on the cards as Spurs are seeking to increase the depth of their squad ahead of the Champions League next season and many believe with his experience the 28-year-old midfielder will fit right in.

Although he is massively popular amongst the Chelsea support he has made himself a divisive player of late splitting the fans opinions on whether he should stay or go. Personally, I don’t think Chelsea will miss him a whole lot as he is replaceable (not sure Yossi Benayoun is the right man though) and you cannot rely on his fitness. I think Chelsea have much bigger worries on their hands this summer than sweating over Cole’s future like keeping Lampard and Ashley Cole away from Jose Mourinho’s clutches at Real Madrid.

With the Benayoun to Chelsea rumours gaining strength and Cole not signing a contract at the club it seems that both parties have made their minds up, but I am slightly puzzled as to why he hasn’t secured his future to avoid any distractions during England’s World Cup campaign.

For Chelsea’s fans Joe Cole wearing a Tottenham or Arsenal shirt next season does not even bear thinking about.

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