If Chelsea Only Strike One Deal This Year, Make It This One

Football FanCast columnist Tom Jones feels that Chelsea should do all that they can to keep Joe Cole at the club by offering him a long-term contract.

If Saturday’s performance against Blackburn is anything to go by then it won’t take Chelsea’s Joe Cole long to get back to his best after 10 months on the sideline. He was his hard-working and creative self as he slotted back into the team as if he’d never been away. And with manager Carlo Ancelotti obviously rating him highly, surely the extension of Cole’s contract has to be a top priority for Chelsea, especially if their transfer embargo isn’t lifted.

Cole’s successful return to first-team football must leave Chelsea in no doubt as to how important the 27 year old is to the club. The midfielder’s contract expires at the end of the season and Chelsea ought to be looking into offering him a new deal as soon as possible. Cole himself has said that he wanted to wait until he was back playing football before he thought about signing a new contract, but I’m sure that contract discussions will be imminent after Cole’s showing at the weekend.

Cole’s performance was incredibly impressive considering the serious cruciate knee ligament injury he suffered last season. His trickery and flair were there for all to see and when added to his undeniable effort they make him a top-class player. The Chelsea fans certainly appreciated his level of performance, giving him a standing ovation when he was substituted in the second half and they will be keen to tie him down to a new deal. His new manager was obviously delighted at his showing as well, giving him a massive hug as he left the field and Ancelotti will be looking forward to what Cole can offer the team in the coming weeks.

Cole himself is just happy to be back playing football, quoted in The Telegraph saying “It is a great time. I am so excited about playing football again. I am very determined to get back to playing for Chelsea and England and today was a good step for me.” And with his current manager labelling him a genius, Chelsea undoubtedly want Joe to stay and I would think that Cole himself has no desire to leave a club where he will be consistently part of a team challenging for silverware.

It is an even bigger credit to Cole that he didn’t look out of place in the unfamiliar role that he was playing. He was deployed by Ancelotti at the head of the midfield diamond just off the two strikers, showing how his versatility is another string to his bow. With Chelsea currently appealing their Fifa ban that prevents them from signing any players until 2011, the return of Cole is like signing a new player and will be a big boost to their squad.

Surely Chelsea’s problems off the field will make Cole’s stay at the club even more inevitable and I would be very surprised if he didn’t sign a new contract in the coming weeks. The fans will be hoping that he stays at Stamford Bridge for the rest of his career, but if Chelsea don’t snap Cole up on a long-term deal will it be a moment they come to regret in the future?

 


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