Chelsea Transfer News: Ashley Cole Tweet Hints at Luke Shaw Deal

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Chelsea Transfer News: Ashley Cole Tweet Hints at Luke Shaw Deal
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Ashley Cole's sarcastic response to praise on Twitter suggests the player may be readying himself for a Stamford Bridge exit, perhaps to create room for Southampton's Luke Shaw.

As noted on the Chelsea full-back's official account, he doesn't expect to be playing often under Jose Mourinho:

Cole has just 16 appearances to his name in the Premier League and Champions League this season, per WhoScored.com.

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He has been dropped in favour of Cesar Azpilicueta, who isn't a natural left-back, and looks set to spend the rest of the season struggling to regain a first-team spot that has been his since moving to Stamford Bridge in 2006.

While Cole's dig is a petty one, it hints at frustration and a future away from West London.

Martin Lipton of the Mirror believes Manchester United's potential interest in Shaw could spark Mourinho into a move for the Saints defender before the January transfer window closes, signalling a faster demise for Cole:

The Londoners had been planning to wait until the summer to try to entice Shaw away from St Mary's, but the champions' move will prompt them to signal their own interest amid a determination not to miss out on Shaw, who has been earmarked as their long-term replacement for Ashley Cole.

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At 33 years old, Cole cannot afford to linger on the bench. He has seemingly fallen behind Leighton Baines for a starting spot in England's World Cup team, and without regular game time, he is unlikely to topple the Everton defender.

Even Shaw, who is 15 years younger, has racked up more Premier League appearances than the former Arsenal full-back this campaign.

Mourinho's decision to sell Juan Mata to United highlights a manager who will not be dictated to when it comes to dealing with his players, per the Red Devils' official website.

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Any other manager's judgement may have been questioned, much like many former Chelsea bosses would be criticised for dropping one of the squad's most experienced individuals.

Chelsea continue to compete across three competitions, often grinding out victories when playing far from their best. Cole will be needed at some point this season, especially as the important fixtures begin to pile up at the onset of February.

He may have become something of a bit-part player, someone who is entering his final stage with the club, but Cole's quality will be missed when his time at Chelsea comes to an end.

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