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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Aug 24, 2006

Chelsea still hopeful of signing Cole

Chelsea chief executive Peter Kenyon is hopeful of landing Ashley Cole before the transfer window closes next Thursday - with or without William Gallas as part of the deal.

The Cole saga has again rumbled on all summer, with the Arsenal and England left-back a long-time target of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho.

In return, Gunners manager Arsene Wenger is hoping to lure the out-of-favour Gallas to the Emirates Stadium, with one offer already having been rejected by the Blues.

With just seven days now remaining for either club to land their man, Kenyon feels the tug of war is ready 'to go to the wire'.

Speaking at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco following the group-stage draw for this season's Champions League, an optimistic Kenyon said: 'I'd like to think he (Cole) will be part of our team.

'We've seven days to find out whether he will or he won't, but we're in discussions with Arsenal.

'Those discussions have been going on for several weeks and they'll be going on for another few days. We'll see what we can get.'

When asked whether Gallas would be included in any kind of package deal, Kenyon replied: 'I don't know. You'd better ask Arsenal that.

'From our point of view, definitely not. We rejected an offer, but I know they are interested in him and would still like him to be part of the deal.

'Whether he will or he won't, I'm not sure. Even if he isn't we don't think it will stop us from getting Ashley Cole.

'We just need to agree a price, so I'm optimistic, although I think it's fair to say it will go to the wire.

'We'd like it not to, but it could do.'

Despite the opportunity to speak to Arsenal vice-chairman David Dein in the principality, Kenyon stated there had been no further transfer discussions.

Dein at least confirmed he and Kenyon had 'had a few words' and they had been 'very friendly', however, he was more reticent when it came to the matter of transfers.

'We have made it clear we would like William Gallas,' said Dein.

'When we negotiate it has to be at a level we believe is right for our budget, but there is no progress to relate.

'There's still a few more days to go of the transfer window, but at the moment Ashley Cole is an Arsenal player, and may very well remain an Arsenal player.

'If that's the case, we're relaxed. Whatever happens will happen.'

Cole's autobiography will soon hit book shelves and is reported to include criticism of Arsenal's board, but Dein is keeping a cool head.

'Arsenal Football Club is not all about one player,' insisted Dein.

'With regard to the book, they're private matters. We're here for the draw of the Champions League, and the whole club is looking forward to a successful campaign.'

Dein also shrugged aside suggestions the seemingly unsavoury affair was destabilising the club.

'It happens every summer. This is modern football. We're used to it, and we have to get through it,' countered Dein.

'Don't think a similar sort of thing won't happen in January or next summer because that's what happens.'

Dein also confirmed the club had rejected an offer from Primera Liga side Atletico Madrid for Jose Antonio Reyes.

It appears increasingly likely the Spain international striker, who earlier this summer saw hopes of a move to Real Madrid fall through, will remain a Gunner unless Atletico significantly increase their offer.

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