6 Possible Transfer Targets to Replace Ashley Cole at Chelsea
"I am weighing up my options for playing next season with my agent and sadly it does not look like Chelsea will be one of them," tweeted the left-back, per The Guardian.
The same newspaper has gone on to suggest the Englishman is weighing up opportunities from as many as eight clubs, too.
So, with Cole planning his future away from Stamford Bridge, the Blues will need to add an extra player at least to their squad to fill the significant void he will leave if they are to remain string in all areas of the pitch.
Bleacher Report highlights six players who Jose Mourinho may well consider to replace Cole.
Whatever happens in Lisbon, we can expect the vultures to be circling the Vicente Calderon Stadium over the summer as they bid to steal a little of the ingredients that have made Diego Simeone's side the force they are.
Felipe Luis has been a big part of that and while he may not represent the best investment with long-term plans in mind, at 28 years old, the Brazilian still has plenty to offer over the next three or four years.
He has shown just how talented he is this term and he would be a wise alternative to replace Cole.
He has taken Ashley Cole's spot in England's World Cup squad, so could Luke Shaw also take it at Chelsea?
The young Englishman has been a hot topic of debate for the past year, with a move away from Southampton often mooted.
Jose Mourinho will need to up his game, though, as media-wide reports are suggesting Manchester United are in the driving seat for his signature.
Shaw would be the ideal replacement for Cole. He's a player of similar ilk and at just 18, has a long career ahead of him.
The Dutch left-back continues to blossom at Ajax, but at 24 years old, he needs a move to one of Europe's bigger leagues if he is to continue the success of his family name.
Of course, Daley is the son of the Dutch legend Danny, who won the Champions League with Ajax.
In the modern game, it's difficult to imagine that will happen again, although Blind has flourished this season and he is looking a player capable of playing for a side competing seriously for Champions League glory.
With nine caps for Holland, he is becoming an established name for his country and would cost a fraction of bringing in a higher-profile player.
In the age of Financial Fair Play, that's a thought that will rest heavy on Jose Mourinho's mind.
Whenever he has, the Belgian hasn't looked out of place either.
He may not offer the same attacking prowess as Ashley Cole, but then again, this is Chelsea under Jose Mourinho—a team rarely celebrated for the attacking exploits of the full-backs.
Indeed, Vertonghen would strengthen Chelsea's defensive proposition, perhaps even allowing Mourinho to release one of his two midfielders in the defensive pivot.
He is comfortable in possession and with his centre-back instincts, Vertonghen would provide good cover in that area of the pitch, bringing a solid look to Chelsea's back line.
The point is, Vertonghen may not be a natural choice, but he has the qualities to perform well at left-back.
A lot of clubs in Europe have tried their utmost to capture some of Borussia Dortmund's more talented players in recent years.
Some have failed, while Bayern Munich have nabbed Robert Lewandowski and Mario Goetze from their grasp.
Perhaps Chelsea should try the same with Dortmund's left-back Marcel Schmelzer.
The German is a real dogged type, an equally talented player who isn't afraid of a scrap when the time calls for it.
He offers an outlet going forward, too, and he would would arrive a man with plenty of experience at the highest level, having featured in the 2013 Champions League final.
He's 25 years old, just one year older than Cole when he joined Chelsea. Look at how that turned out.
Mattia De Sciglio
The talk is of Mattia De Sciglio becoming an AC Milan legend.
Why not rephrase that, adding Chelsea?
At 21 years old, the Italian represents an excellent investment for whichever club is willing to make the commitment.
For his current employers Milan, that would be paying him handsomely enough to stave off interest from elsewhere, while for a club such as Chelsea, a considerable bid to tempt the Milanese giants' resolve.
Being versatile on either flank, De Sciglio gives Jose Mourinho options, too, a factor the Chelsea manager likes to consider when signing players.
Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes
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