Premier League - Paper Round: Barca, Russians want Cole

Tue, 11 Oct 08:59:00 2011

Sometimes footballers are faced with the choice of moving for glory or for money and Chelsea's Ashley Cole might have to make that decision this summer.

Ashley Cole, Chelsea - 0

The left-back is wanted by European champions Barcelona according to the Daily Mirror but the Sun reckon that mega-rich Russian club Anzhi Makhachkala are in the race too, and ready to pay Cole a simply astronomical sum to join them.

Cole could of course stay at Chelsea, but his contract is up at the end of next season and the Blues might see this as their last chance to cash in on him.

Linking up with the likes of Xavi, Lionel Messi and Cesc Fabregas might be an attractive option for the 31-year-old and the Mirror says that Barcelona would be prepared to pay a transfer fee of around £12m for Cole.

"Cole, 31, is Guardiola's first choice, but now he must convince Barca president Sandro Rosell to make a move," the paper says.

"The European champions are long-term admirers of Tottenham’s Welsh winger Gareth Bale – but his sky-high price tag has left them believing Cole is a better option."

However, Cole, who once earned the nickname 'Cashley' after he wrote in his autobiography that he nearly crashed his car over a revised offer of £55,000 instead of £60,000 a week while at Arsenal, would find it hard to turn down an offer from the Russians who according to the Sun are willing to give him a four-year contract worth £200,000-a-week.

That would see Cole earn over £40m if he stayed for the full duration of his contract.

Brazilian left-back Roberto Carlos is currently player-coach at Anzhi and has picked out Cole as his perfect replacement when he hangs up his playing boots.

Anzhi have also been linked with Arsenal striker Robin van Persie (various) but the Gunners are ready to break their contract policy of not offering long deals to players nearing 30, by handed the 28-year-old a 'significant pay rise' and a four-year deal. (Daily Mail)

Elsewhere, and the Sun is claiming that Javier Hernandez is a shock £30m target for Real Madrid.

United want him to sign a new five-year deal, tripling his wages from £25,000 to £75,000, according to the paper, but Real are willing to offer £150,000-a-week in an attempt to tempt the young Mexican striker to Spain.

Chelsea could be about to let Didier Drogba leave the club on a free in the summer according to the Times. Contract talks between the two have been put on hold with Chelsea keen to keep the Ivory Coast striker, but only on reduced wages.

One player Chelsea might look to bring in though is Bolton defender Gary Cahill, with Andre Villas-Boas ready to bid £14m in January for a player who is out of contract at the end of the season. (Daily Express)

Back to Arsenal, and they are reportedly looking at Toulouse winger Aymen Abdennour. The 22-year-old Tunisian has said he would like to play in England. (The Sun)

The agent of Lille winger Eden Hazard has also revealed that Arsenal tried to sign his client this summer. The agent said that Hazard could be ready to leave next summer but Real Madrid remain the favourites to get the Belgian. (Daily Mirror)

Blackburn face a battle to keep Junior Hoilett after making little progress in contract talks with the Canadian and Tottenham are reportedly ready to swoop if he becomes available. (Daily Mail)

Liverpool are hoping to win the race for young Swiss hot-shot Nicholas Hunziker. Kenny Dalglish's scouts have sent back rave reports on the 15-year-old, who netted a hat-trick for his country's youth team on his debut. (Daily Mirror)

Finally, Shamrock Rovers manager Michael O'Neill and his assistant Jim Magilton are favourites to succeed Nigel Worthington as Northern Ireland manager (various), although top of the IFA's wish list is Martin O'Neill. (Daily Mirror)

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