Why Ashley Cole to Paris Saint-Germain Makes Sense for All Concerned
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Since the start of the season, Chelsea's Ashley Cole has been linked numerous times with a move to big-spending French side Paris Saint-Germain.
Les Rouges-et-Bleus have demonstrated their ambition in the transfer market over the past two summers with an impressive haul of star talent, even if some of those stars have failed to shine in the French capital since their arrival.
The potential capture of Cole would be one of the club's best pieces of business in the Qatar Sports Investment era. Here's why:
Cole is a top quality left-back and would strengthen PSG's defence and despite Maxwell's versatility; high work-rate and impressive form since arriving in Paris with a decorated CV, the 99-times capped England international is one of Europe's best in his position.
The capital club's biggest weakness remains the defence despite heavy reinforcement and a lack of balance at the back comes from having three attacking full-backs in the side. Christophe Jallet, Gregory van der Wiel and Maxwell are more forward-thinking players whilst Cole can both defend and attack, a characteristic that Carlo Ancelotti will be aware would balance his back line.
Crucially, he also knows how to keep the ball, something that PSG have struggled to learn to do under King Carlo. Having a player of Cole's ability would also allow Ancelotti to break up his trio of holding midfielders who contribute to the lack of attacking and defensive balance.
At 31 years old (32 by the end of his contract), Cole is not getting any younger, with Chelsea needing young blood and PSG needing more winners. The Englishman has a Champions League medal to his name as well as a plethora of league titles and domestic trophy wins.
A player of Cole's calibre would be a massive boost to the club both on and off the pitch, particularly should David Beckham arrive, their partnership and mutual experience would be extremely beneficial to PSG. Undoubtedly, there is a future for him still at Stamford Bridge; the future at the Parc des Princes is surely more long-term than in London.
Cole still has one more challenge left in him and PSG are ambitious, so it is a good opportunity for any top player. English players rarely move abroad but Cole has an opportunity to move to another league that is currently developing rapidly, and is not too far from his home in the UK to play for a team that can offer Champions League football and potential further glory with a credible project.
If Cole were to succeed where his namesake Joe failed, then he could lay down the gauntlet to a future generation of domestic talent to test themselves abroad. This is vital to the development of English game in particular, and Cole could be the player that started it all unless Beckham beats him to the punch.
Chelsea also need to move away from their dependence on ageing stars such as John Terry, Frank Lampard and Cole, and although the former Arsenal man still has arguably the most to offer, Roman Abramovich evidently doesn't see him in Chelsea's long-term plans or he'd have already received a new deal.
The trio are the heart and soul of the club currently because of their illustrious achievements with the Blues and their status as top English internationals that have formed the spine of this team for the best part of a decade. Their time as the faces of Chelsea is almost up, as a new cycle of players is arriving so the three will eventually become bit-part players as they continue to age.
Why not go out on a high having won all there is to win with the team after the Club World Cup?
A possible reunion with former boss Ancelotti would also likely appeal to Cole. The Italian arguably got the best out of the left-back in his tenure at the Bridge, and would no doubt relish the opportunity to extract the maximum from his final years at the top as part of PSG's ambitious project.
Whilst Cole's ability going forward is good, but not extraordinary, his defensive ability has remarkably improved since his Arsenal days. The attacking part of les Parisiens' game doesn't need altering in terms of personnel if you bear in mind that Lucas Moura will arrive in January, the defensive side of things though still need addressing.
Cole would bring that balance and that link between defence, midfield and attack on the left that the Italian is looking for. Maxwell would simply make his move into midfield permanent.
The current managerial uncertainty at Chelsea perhaps means that Cole would be better off guaranteeing a prestigious move now while he still can, instead of chancing his arm with Rafael Benitez's replacement next summer.
Nobody is under any illusion that Rafa is an interim manager and no more than that. Who is to say that Cole and the rest of the old guard will have a future once that successor is named?
Making a decision on his future after the Club World Cup would be a sage piece of thinking, making one last lucrative move to a club that can still offer him potential success on the back of winning the trophy, would be a no-brainer.
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