Ask Joe Cole where he might be this summer and he won’t have a solid answer for you. Ask Joe Cole where he will be playing his football next season and he might hesitate before telling you he is unsure. Yes, as the title to this article states, there are uncertain times ahead for the Chelsea midfielder.
Cole is out of contract in the summer and has been heavily linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge. That’s the main story to all of this. Manchester City, Manchester United and Liverpool have all been linked to the former West Ham player as Chelsea fail to commit to offering him a new deal.
The 28-year-old hasn’t featured too heavily for the Blues this season and has had to settle for a place on the bench more often than not. When he has started games, it is a rare occurrence that he plays the full 90 minutes.
In many cases, this might lead people to think that letting the player leave at the end of the season wouldn’t be the worst thing. If the wage bill is high and there is someone who isn’t featuring predominantly in the managers plans, he should probably be moved on, right?
The thing is, with Cole, you do feel like Chelsea would be letting go of an absolute gem. He has an incredible amount of talent and has been highly influential for the team in the past. Injury problems may have set him back in recent months, but surely he is good enough to become a regular starter again?
If Chelsea let Cole leave on a free transfer, it leaves him with the chance to join Premier League rivals. With the title race being as close as ever this year, this isn’t something Chelsea want to happen is it? The move could backfire and dent Chelsea’s Premier League betting odds next term.
This doesn’t mean that Chelsea should keep Cole just so no one else can have him, but it must play a part in the decision. There are three questions here – can Joe Cole perform at the highest level? Is he committed to Chelsea? Is he one of the most talented players at the club? To my mind, the answer is yes to all three.
Others have been having there say on this matter too, like Tottenham striker Jermaine Defoe. Cole’s former West Ham team-mate has said that he “can’t believe” Chelsea might let the midfielder leave the club.
Defoe makes a good point in that Cole can “make the difference in tough, tight games”. This is almost certainly the case. Look at Chelsea’s win over Manchester United at Old Trafford earlier this month – who popped up with the opening goal to set the visitors on their way?
The decision will be Carlo Ancelotti’s in the end though and perhaps he sees Cole as a luxury that the team can’t afford. Perhaps Cole has made it known that he is unhappy about not starting enough games. It would paint a clearer picture if this was the case, I guess.
Not playing enough, after all, is what might cost Cole his place at the World Cup. Yes, he has performed for his country on a number of occasions and yes, there aren’t many players with more talent than him. However, Fabio Capello doesn’t tend to pick players that aren’t playing week in week out. Although fan’s might feel the player could help England justify their World Cup odds, the manager might feel differently.
If it was down to me and I was making the decisions of Ancelotti and Capello, I would renew Cole’s contract with Chelsea and take him to the World Cup. He is too good a player for either party to be missing out on. Unfortunately for him though, it might not be that straightforward.