Reasons for and Against Giving Ashley Cole a New Deal at Chelsea
Should Ashley Cole stay, or should he go?
It's a tough question, and it's one Chelsea management must find an answer to. The 31-year-old left-back's contract is up at the end of the season, and he's trying to work out a contract with the Blues.
As it stands, according to the Daily Mail, Cole is planning to leave Stamford Bridge.
Of course, it's the middle of October, and claims like that need to be taken with a grain of salt. With that being said, Roberto Di Matteo does need to decide whether or not he wants to commit to the England international.
Here are a few reasons why Chelsea should, or shouldn't, keep Cole.
For: Still an Elite Left-Back
People thought Ashley Cole would start to dip in form this year, but that hasn't happened.
He remains one of the best pure left-backs in the world. He defends well, attacks efficiently and does everything in between. He is rock solid on the left side, and the Blues are lucky to have him.
Moving forward, it will be interesting to see when his form does begin to dip. It certainly hasn't happened yet.
Against: Ryan Bertrand Is Capable
Ryan Bertrand would be a starting left-back for most Premier League clubs.
However, at Chelsea, he's been relegated to the bench or pushed out of position.
Bertrand is 23 years old, and he's ready to play first-team football. If Chelsea bring Cole back for a few more years, Bertrand might want to leave.
He deserves to play. If he can't get on the pitch at Chelsea any time soon, he has no reason to stay.
Ashley Cole has done it all as a player.
He's notched nearly 500 club appearances, including nearly 350 in the Premier League. He's been playing first-team football in the top flight since the turn of the century and is without doubt a seasoned veteran.
He's played in dozens of competitions, and he's seen it all. For a young club in transition, it would be great to keep such a valuable veteran around.
With all that experience comes age.
Ashley Cole will turn 32 this season, making him an elder statesman. He's a great asset, but when will his body start slowing down? At some point, he won't recover fast enough, he won't be effective for 90 minutes and he'll start to lose his pace.
Once that happens, he will need to be benched.
Will that happen at 33? 36? 40? Roberto Di Matteo needs to figure out when Cole will start to slow down. If he thinks that could happen any time soon, Cole needs to go.
For: Regular for England
It's always nice to have homegrown talent in the side.
When a country's top league is littered with players from that country, it makes everything more enjoyable. The fans have a deeper connection with the players, and the players have more loyalty to fans.
It's a win-win.
Cole is still a regular for England, and Chelsea is one of the most recognizable English clubs. When you match those two up, he fits in perfectly.
Against: Feud with FA
Ashley Cole stood by his teammate, John Terry, in his recent racism trial.
Terry was found innocent, but the FA still suspended him and essentially said that the trial—including Cole's testimony—was not sufficient to prove he was innocent.
Cole was understandably upset. However, he didn't handle the situation very well. The former Arsenal man used an expletive to describe the FA on Twitter and has since been charged with improper conduct.
Ashley Cole has won 15 trophies at the club level.
He knows what it takes to win. Chelsea have young players that need to learn the nuances necessary to win trophies. As long as Cole is around, the Blues have a successful veteran to guide them.
Simply put, Cole is a winner.
Against: History of Disloyalty
Ashley Cole got the name "Ca$hley" for a reason.
He was happy at Arsenal, but the club wouldn't pay him what he wanted. Therefore, when Chelsea offered him a satisfactory amount (£35,000 more), he moved across London.
Arsenal fans were furious, and understandably so. As a Gunner, he played an entire season without losing a single league match, qualified for the Champions League final and lifted seven trophies.
Yet, for some more money, he moved to a rival.
When you factor in his very public divorce with Cheryl Cole following numerous (rumoured) infidelities, Ashley doesn't have the best reputation when it comes to loyalty.
If he isn't 100 percent committed to the club, Chelsea have no reason to re-sign him.