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Transfers - Paper Round: Cole to quit on free

Eurosport - Thu, 11 Mar 09:09:00 2010

Joe Cole is set to quit Chelsea on a free transfer after he was offered a 'humiliating' 40 per cent pay cut on a one-year deal, according to the Daily Star.

FOOTBALL Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole - 0

A day after Michael Ballack was reportedly offered significantly-reduced terms to stay at the Bridge, the former West Ham playmaker will only be offered a short-term, 36k-a-week contract.

Cole, 28, has been trying to negotiate an extension to his existing 60k contract, which expires in the summer.

It has long been reported that, despite his injury troubles in recent seasons, Cole feels a pay hike is in order with Chelsea reluctant to match his 80k-a-week demands.

But the latest development - which the Star said left the player "humiliated" - is effectively a green card for Cole to start talking to other clubs.

Manchester United are said to be at the head of the queue but Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City are keen. A move abroad should not be discounted too.

A similar cost-cutting measure is being adopted by Newcastle United supremo Mike Ashley (Daily Mail).

The club, topping the Championship but with a wage bill that would make most Premier League clubs blush, are rumoured to be losing half a million quid a week and the likes of Alan Smith and Kevin Nolan are being told they will have to take big pay cuts even if the club are promoted.

Unlike Cole, Smith - reportedly on around 70k a week - is said to be open to discussion, although his chances of finding a similar deal elsewhere are non-existent.

Arsenal could lose William Gallas to Roma on a free transfer if Arsene Wenger continues his policy of only offering one-year deals to players over the age of 30 (several papers).

Gallas, 32, still has most of his pace but is in "advanced stages" of talks with the Italian club that could see a deal wrapped up by the weekend.

Given Gallas's importance to the team, and that there is no sign of his body feeling the effects of his age, Wenger may buck the trend and give him two years.

Fulham's Roy Hodgson could be in line for a big job after all, with the popular Englishman tipped to buck the trend by returning to coach in Italy (all papers).

Of the traditional English Big Four, only United have a British coach and the door consistently appears shut to locals when top jobs crop up.

Hodgson, who has spent most of his coaching career abroad and has managed in Italy with Internazionale (twice) and Udinese, is in Turin for Fulham's Europa League clash with Juventus and told assorted press that he cherished his time in Italy and would always be happy to return.

He also admitted that he is in regular contact with Inter chief Massimo Moratti - which could put him at the top of the list should Jose Mourinho leave in the summer.

The Red Knights have appointed the same investment bank that advised Manchester United when the club was sold to the Glazer family.

The rebel United fans, not short of a city bigwig or two, have been accused by pro-Glazer elements in the media of being all mouth and no trouser.

But the latest move, using Japanese bank Nomura, adds yet more credibility and organisation to a bid that includes senior city analysts, advertising executives and accountants.

And, of course, they have the backing of David Beckham, who was caught wearing the green and gold of Newton Heath after Milan's loss to United.

Outspoken Queens Park Rangers boss Neil Warnock says he would be prepared to give shamed striker Marlon King a chance on his release from prison.

Jailbird King, doing his second stretch inside after assaulting a woman in a bar, has a rap sheet as long as Peter Crouch's legs, but Warnock - who tried to sign him for Crystal Palace and Sheffield United - is willing to give him an umpteenth chance.

The former Wigan 'hit-man' is set for a parole hearing that could see him return early from an 18-month term in time for pre-season.


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