Inter and AC Milan heading queue of interested clubs on continentEXCLUSIVE
By Andy Brassell | Chelsea Correspondent
Chelsea's Joe Cole will seek a move away from the Premier League if he cannot agree a new deal with the club - with Serie A giants AC Milan and Inter both keen on the England midfielder, Goal.com UK can reveal.
The 28-year-old could head of a list of top stars available for free this summer, with his contract set to expire and no apparent progress on an extension.
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A host of Chelsea's domestic rivals have been linked with Cole as negotiations have stalled, including Liverpool, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham Hotspur and his former club West Ham United.
Yet sources close to the player indicate that he would snub all his English suitors and pursue a move abroad if he can't strike a deal to stay at Stamford Bridge.
"A number of foreign clubs have expressed their interest," said the source. "Everyone knows his style would suit the continental game."
Cole has long been linked with a move to the continent, with Claudio Ranieri attempting to bring him to Valencia after returning to the Mestalla from Stamford Bridge in 2004.
Now Serie A rivals Milan and Inter are understood to be monitoring the situation closely. The Rossoneri will again have to strengthen on a budget this summer, so the midfielder's out-of-contract status makes him an attractive prospect. Despite English players having a reputation for often struggling to adapt to foreign climes, the San Siro club were highly impressed by the contribution of David Beckham in his two loan spells in Europe's fashion capital.
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Inter have greater means at their disposal and are equally keen on Cole. Jose Mourinho has lost patience with both Mancini and Ricardo Quaresma, and will attempt to offload the pair in the summer. This will in turn create a vacancy for a creative wide player, and the 53-cap England man's profile fits the bill. It was Inter coach Mourinho who made Cole into a first-team regular in his time at Stamford Bridge, and after a difficult opening to their working relationship, a bond of mutual respect was formed.
If Cole does manage to make Fabio Capello's World Cup squad, his stock would rise further and it would give him an even greater choice of prospective destinations.
Few developments are expected until the end of Chelsea's domestic season on May 15, as the club have stated on a number of occasions recently that they will not be entering into contract discussions before that point.
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