Reasons for and Against Giving Ashley Cole a New Deal at Chelsea

Tom SunderlandFeatured ColumnistOctober 17, 2012

Reasons for and Against Giving Ashley Cole a New Deal at Chelsea

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    With just over eight months remaining on his current Chelsea contract, the question of whether or not Ashley Cole will remain in west London past the end of this season has become a poignant one in recent weeks.

    According to the Daily Mail, Manchester United and Manchester City are ready to fight for the 31-year-old’s signature at the end of the season following news that the left-back has failed to agree new terms with his current club.

    The Blues will still have the opportunity to tie their defender down to a new contract in the coming months, but would doing so be worth their time?

    Like any decision of this kind, the Cole conundrum comes with its positives and negatives. It’s simply a matter of which side of the argument weighs heavier.

Superstar Talent—For

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    The first and most evident reason to offer Ashley Cole an extended contract as part of the Chelsea squad is undoubtedly the player’s pedigree in his own position.

    The left-back is among the best in the world at what he does, and whether you love him or hate him, his talent is nigh upon undeniable.

    If Chelsea were to let Cole leave, it would mean having to either spend money on a replacement of the same quality, or thrusting Ryan Bertrand into a starting left-back slot.

    It’s questionable whether or not Bertrand is of the required Chelsea standard as of yet, and Cole’s sudden absence would be a big blow for the Blues.

    A lot of superstars in the past have had strange personalities for one reason or another, and Ashley Cole is simply one of the latest talented talismans to not be liked by a portion of his own supporters.

No Spring Chicken—Against

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    In the life of a professional athlete, a playing career is a ticking clock and can only be maintained at the top level for a certain amount of time.

    At almost 32 years of age, Ashley Cole’s best days are undoubtedly behind him and while players last a lot longer than they used to, just how long Cole has left at the elite level is a question worth asking.

    It’s arguable that while his defending is top-tier, Cole’s biggest benefits lie in his attacking contributions, a side of his game that is bound to decline the more he ages.

    If the English international is to receive the kind of job security that any player wants, he’ll probably be looking for a three year deal and the Blues can’t be blamed for felling a big risk were they to grant such a wish.

English Asset—For

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    As the acquisition of foreign players in the Premier League has become a growing fashion in the last decade, so too has the novelty of having a genuinely talented English player amongst a club’s ranks.

    In order to compete with the best in not just your own domestic league, but with the rest of Europe also, a team has to recruit the best they can, and right now, that isn’t England.

    To comply with FA regulations, a certain amount of players raised in Britain are required on each matchday squad and the task of filling out those numbers is made far easier the more talented they are.

    Despite his off-the-field actions, Ashley Cole remains one of England’s most consistent players and his English-ness only makes him that much more valuable in the English top flight.

    Of course, Ryan Bertrand is also an England native and could well grow to become as good as Cole some day, but the day is some way off and not arriving anytime soon.

Social Liability—Against

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    Perhaps the biggest detriment Cole possesses as an elite participant, as many will know, is what he gets up to off the field in his spare time.

    Whether it’s hurling expletives at the FA over Twitter or being involved with the police after a night out on the town, Cole lives his life to the fullest, and it reflects badly on his club.

    When a player gives an impression off the field, it tends to reflect on the club itself, and that is something Chelsea should be glad to be rid of

    In his time as a Chelsea player, Cole has found himself getting in trouble for shooting an air rifle at a Blues trainee, being accused of participating in a homosexual orgy (via Independent) and surviving an on-and-off relationship with Cheryl Tweedy.

    The Chelsea media team have had a hell of a task contorting the discrepancies that Cole has committed in recent years, and one has to wonder whether the London side may be better off were Cole gone for good.

Healthy as Ever—For

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    In his last six seasons at Chelsea, Cole has averaged more than 40 appearances per season, an impressive tally considering he’s over 30 years old.

    The England international has proven that he’s capable of surviving a campaign on numerous fronts, competing in competitions both domestic and European.

    Injuries are a common setback in the English top flight, but somehow Cole has managed to steer clear of anything serious during his considerable years in the Premier League.

    Some players can be plagued by injury in their careers, and the luck of having a star capable of staving off anything serious, even in his latter years, is a rare factor worth keeping around.

Expensive Client—Against

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    As things stand, Ashley Cole earns a reported £120,000-a-week (via Guardian), a sum that makes him one of Chelsea’s highest earners and probably one of the most expensive defenders in the Premier League.

    Because of the position that Cole holds on the Chelsea squad, the 31-year-old can negotiate a deal on his terms, and allegedly has the big-spending likes of PSG waiting in the wings to offer him a lucrative deal.

    Cole has gradually grown to become one of the senior left-backs in Europe and any club wishing to acquire his talents will assuredly be expected to go somewhere close to matching his current wages, if not surpassing them.

    Compared to what they’d pay for a younger, more promising player, Chelsea certainly has a way of saving money if they were to let Cole leave at the end of the season, and wouldn’t be expect to pay out as much for a younger talent.