On or off the pitch, controversies never leave Ashley Cole's side. Much has been written about Cole's involvement in the defence of John Terry and his subsequent Twitter outburst. His performances for Chelsea have belied the pressure he is facing at this moment. To add to that, contract talks with Chelsea seemed to have reached a dead-end now. Cole has rejected a one-year extension on his current contract that runs out in summer 2013. If he does not sign a new contract, he is free to enter into talks with other clubs in January itself with the final move away from Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.
Chelsea for their part have stuck to their stance of offering players on the wrong side of 30 one-year extensions on their contract. Didier Drogba joined Shaghai Shenua on a free transfer after failing to agree a new two-year deal with the club. Given that Cole is not short of admirers across Europe and Chelsea's reluctance to offer him a two-year deal, a move away from Stamford Bridge seems very likely.
Viewed from Chelsea's persepective, Cole's exit may not be so bad. Ryan Bertrand has proved himself to be an able deputy when called upon and he has age on his side. Chelsea have shown that they retain the ability to make shrewd buys in the transfer window with Cesar Azpillicueta being a bargain at 7 million pounds or so. Chelsea have been linked to Lazio midfielder Senad Lulic, who has performed very well at left-back this season.
In all honesty, Cole has nothing left to prove in English football. He has won 15 trophies, including the Champions League with Chelsa and Arsenal. He has 98 caps for England and should reach the milestone of 100 caps pretty soon. Managers such as Carlo Ancelotti regard him as the best left-back in the world. It is only a matter of choice for the Chelsea left-back and there are several suitors in the market. Paris St. Germain have made it clear that they can offer Cole the wages he wants and he would be welcome at the club. Jose Mourinho would like a jab at signing Cole. Then there are the Manchester clubs, United and City who have hinted at acquiring Cole's services.
Overall, if Cole were to leave the Bridge, no matter where he goes next, he will leave behind a legacy. A wonderful left-back whose trademark forward runs have been a thrill to watch shall remain forever etched in the mind of many football fans.842331