Stamford Bridge man apparently angered by latest contract offer.
JOE COLE will quit Chelsea on a free transfer this summer.
England midfielder Joe Cole seems almost certain to join title rivals Manchester United after the Stamford Bridge club humiliated him with the offer of a one-year contract and a 40 per cent pay cut.
Cole is out of contract at the end of the season and had been hoping to sign a long-term deal to stay at Chelsea.
He was stunned when chairman Bruce Buck offered a 12-month deal with a one-year option – even though he is still only 28 and regarded as one of the most talented players in the Premier League.
Cole has made it clear he will not accept such a short-term package, with wages of £36,000 a week.
Such a deal would leave him earning a fraction of what England team-mates John Terry, Frank Lampard and Ashley Cole are on.
The decision to offer such a poor deal was made by Roman Abramovich and effectively means Chelsea are happy to lose Cole without netting a fee.
United boss Sir Alex Ferguson has rated Cole ever since he burst on to the scene as a teenager at West Ham .
Starsport understands United would be ready to offer a three-year deal.
Cole would have no worries about moving to the North-West with wife Carly and their new baby, due later this month.
Manchester City are willing to offer £80,000 a week , while Tottenham boss Harry Redknapp is also interested in signing Cole. (Daily Star)
Joe Cole has some tough decisions to make this summer, clearly decisions we would all love to be greeted with ourselves, but nonetheless the Chelsea man is in a bit of a pickle. The former West Ham midfielder is not happy with how much playing time he is getting at Stamford Bridge and even though Carlo Ancelotti insists the England man has a future at the club he then offers him a contract that appears to be one that they knew would be turned down.
Cole appears to want to stick it out at the club he has won two Premier League titles with but also knows that at 28 he needs to be playing football regularly, not least if he wants to get back into the England reckoning. Then you have Manchester United who apparently also want to offer the Chelsea man a contract all of their own then there is a potential offer on the table from Manchester City to consider.
Clearly at Eastlands he would be most likely to get a regular first team run and probably the biggest paycheck however he may find himself out of the Champions League picture and that may be a bitter pill he won’t be keen on swallowing.
After being out injured for such a long stretch Joe Cole has struggled to get a sustained run in the Chelsea team and therefore hasn’t been able to properly prove to both Ancelotti and Capello just what a talent he still is. In many ways this summer can’t come quick enough and no doubt he will be offered many lucrative deals and it will take some thinking before Cole signs what could potentially be the last big deal of his footballing career.