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The Liverpool man, currently on loan at French champions Lille, is unlikely to return to England this summer and could stay in Ligue 1 despite interest from former club West Ham

THE
SWEEPER
TIDYING UP ALL THE LOOSE STORIES IN FOOTBALL THIS WEEK

JOE COLE FROZEN OUT BY EVERY PREMIER LEAGUE CLUB AS CAREER REACHES NEW CROSSROADS

Joe Cole faces another crossroads in his career at the end of a season of reinvention at Lille.
 
But The Sweeper understands that the Liverpool player is unlikely to return to England when his loan spell finishes.
 
Cole has been told that there is not a single Premier League club who have expressed an interest in signing him, with his employers the Reds among those doubtful whether he can still be a force in England’s top tier.
 
It is believed that West Ham would be keen on making a swoop for their former captain but only if they are successful in getting promoted from the Championship to the Premier League.
 
“At the moment it looks like Joe will stay in France,” explained a source close to the player. “He has an option on his loan contract for another season at Lille. There is not a single Premier League club who have made an offer, although West Ham could be in for him if they go up.
 
“The problem is the Premier League clubs think the pace of the game in France is that much slower and it will be hard for Joe to adapt back to the more physical style.”
 
Cole is not 31 until November but he has been troubled by knee problems in recent years and, while he has featured in 38 of Lille’s 43 matches in all competitions, he has been a substitute in 11 of them and is frequently withdrawn before the end of games.
 
Nevertheless, the England international has made a reasonable impact in his French adventure, scoring six goals and helping his team to third in Ligue 1, which would be enough to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
 
Speaking earlier this week, Cole said he "would like to stay" at Lille and is "happy here" in France with his family but it is understood that he returns home to London every three weeks.
 
Lille currently pay around two-thirds of his salary, worth around £110,000-a-week. 

- Wayne Veysey | Chief Correspondent

CHELSEA STILL PAYING FOR AVB MISTAKE

Andre Villas-Boas was sacked by Chelsea in early March after Roman Abramovich concluded that the £13.3 million spent to buy out his Porto contract last summer was an expensive mistake.

But the Russian’s spending on the Portuguese coach may not be over. The Sweeper understands that there are still two clauses to be resolved in the settlement package between the Blues and their former manager.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

DE GEA SET FOR OLYMPICS AGAINST SIR ALEX'S WISHES

David de Gea has played a key role in Manchester United’s title charge with some stunning displays following a shaky start to life in England.

The 21-year-old has established himself as a vital member of Sir Alex Ferguson’s side but he is ready to disrupt United’s pre-season preparations in the summer as he is desperate to play in the London Olympics.

Ferguson has blasted the “ridiculous” prospect of as many as 12 of his players being selected for the Games but The Sweeper understands that he will not change De Gea’s mind.

- Greg Stobart | Northern Correspondent

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