Chelsea are planning to sign a left-back in the winter transfer window as they seek a replacement for Ashley Cole.
The England international’s current contract – one of the most lucrative at Stamford Bridge – expires this summer with the club unwilling to offer more than a single-season extension.
Cole, who turns 32 in December, believes his performances merit a longer-term deal, but according to friends has accepted that the process of overhauling Chelsea’s squad initiated by Roman Abramovich last year has moved against him. Former manager Carlo Ancelotti is interested in taking Cole to Paris Saint-Germain.
Though Chelsea have not settled on a specific individual to replace Cole, their strategy is similar to the one that brought Spain youth international Cesar Azpilicueta from Marseille in August.
The Premier League leaders and European champions are looking for a left-back in his early 20s with the potential to develop into an elite international, while also capable of going straight into the first team if necessary.
A significant saving on Cole’s salary is a further important consideration as Chelsea try to clear up their finances to accommodate Uefa’s Financial Fair Play regulations.
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