As the latest prediction for the Ashley Cole saga has the drawn out battle between Chelsea and Arsenal ending in a Gallas-for-Cole player swap, Boggs ponders if there’s something a little more sinister brewing.
Firstly, Chelsea are the one club that do not need to get an unsettled player off their books just to save money on wages. Secondly, come September 1st if neither player moves Mourinho already has his replacements in Khalid Boulahrouz (and a seemingly in-form Wayne Bridge) but Wenger will be left with a potentially unplayable Ashley Cole and no transfer funds to show for it.
Admittedly, Arsene has shown an admirable ability to put the footballing success of his club over any personal grudges, allowing Jose Antonio Reyes to play on despite the Spainiad just barely stopping short of wearing Real Madrid shirt to training in an attempt to engineer a move. But the Cole situation is much more serious. Despite being so kind as to make himself ‘available’ to play for the club Wenger opted against it given his uncertain status. As much the Colesy may like to believe he’s only hurting the directors who refused to pay him the wages he wanted, the supporters and manager probably haven’t seen it the same way. Of course, much of the trouble stems from Cole’s own behaviour and that of his agent but regardless it’s difficult to imagine the England left back having a successful and happy season with his current employers.
So is it that far fetched to believe that at this point that Chelsea are simply planning to screw one of their main rivals?
Relatively speaking, a Cole-Gallas swap would strengthen Arsenal far more than it would Mourinho’s side and, if conspiracy theorists are to be believed, the signing of SWP supposedly to prevent Liverpool and Arsenal from getting their hands on him set the precedent that Chelsea are not above such an aggressive and spiteful transfer policy. The take-no-prisoners approach in basically dragging John Obi Mikel from Manchester United’s training ground and paying a transfer fee just to nick Frank Arnesen from Tottenham further demonstrates how cutthroat the club has become.
Leaving Wenger’s side with an incredibly unsettled player and no additional transfer funds with which to strengthen seems like the option that puts Chelsea in the strongest competitive position, so why wouldn’t they take it?