Five clubs in chase for Cole
Ashley Cole is prepared to begin contract talks with up to five interested foreign clubs in January if an agreement is not reached to end his contract deadlock with Chelsea.
Cole, 31, is hoping that Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich can be convinced to change his policy of only offering one-year deals to players over 30, with the England defender having already rejected the prospect of a short-term extension. There are no new talks planned imminently, but the two parties will meet again before Christmas in a bid to end the stand-off.
There is no fall-out or rift between Cole and club chiefs over the negotiations, with the former Arsenal star remaining "calm and collected" over discussions and viewing the option of talking to other clubs as a last resort. Cole would like to end his career at Stamford Bridge and could be convinced to settle for a two-year-deal if it was offered.
If an agreement cannot be reached, Cole may reject the opportunity to sign a pre-contract agreement in January and wait until the summer before finalising his future in a bid to convince Chelsea that he is deserving of his demands. Didier Drogba adopted a similar approach last season before quitting for Shanghai Shenhua
A similar situation faces Frank Lampard, 34, but while the midfielder might be tempted to stay on a year-to-year deal rather than take up a lucrative offer in the MLS, Cole is not willing to consider such an option.