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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Chelsea will not give up on Cole

Chelsea have told ESPN that they have no intention of letting Ashley Cole go to Paris Saint-Germain, or any other top European club, in January.

The European champions confirmed that talks with Cole and his representatives are "ongoing" and negotiations will reconvene before Christmas in a bid to keep the left-back away from other clubs, and possibly even signing a pre-contract from January onwards.

Manager Roberto Di Matteo and the club's hierarchy are recommending to owner Roman Abramovich to make an exception to the "over-30's rule" of offering only one-year extensions once contracts expire.

Chelsea insist this is not actually a hard and fast "rule" but has been adopted in line with other top clubs, first stated when Arsenal offered only a one year deal to Dennis Bergkamp, and has been followed by Manchester United with the likes of Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

ESPN has also been told that Cole wants to stay and will sign a new contract if Chelsea relent and offer more than the one-year deal he has already rejected.

Manchester United are believed to be waiting in the background in the hope that neither Chelsea or PSG seal a deal with him in January.

A source close to the Cole camp says: "There are more important things to think about than something completely unsubstantiated. Of course Ashley hasn't spoken to PSG.

"That's not to say Cole's representatives haven't. And it is likely that they may well have been sounded out by at least two other big European clubs ready to make offers in January."

Five clubs have made it clear they want to be kept informed of developments with Cole, and Manchester Untied are believed to be one of them. Three top European clubs want to table offers direct to Cole, as they are able to do under the rules, in January.

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