Cole's Chelsea future in doubt as contract talks drag on

The 33-year-old’s current deal expires at the end of the season and the Stamford Bridge club want the left-back to accept a reduction on a salary worth in excess of £150,000-a-week

Ashley Cole’s future at Chelsea remains in doubt, with the defender still to agree terms on a new contract despite renewed talks in recent weeks.

The England international’s current deal expires at the end of the season but the Blues want him to accept a reduction on his salary, which is heavily incentivised and worth more than £150,000 (€180,000) per week.

Discussions have been held with Chelsea chiefs and the 33-year-old and his representatives are understood to be relaxed about the situation, in the knowledge that there will be no shortage of offers in the summer.

Cole’s priority is to stay at Stamford Bridge and boss Jose Mourinho has publicly declared his desire for the left-back to sign a new deal.

“I think, even if you’re not playing every game and are not first choice, like he has always been, it does not mean you are not in well condition or deserving of a new contract,” said the Portuguese in December.

Cole has found himself in and out of the Chelsea side this season, starting just 11 of the club’s 20 Premier League fixtures so far.

The Blues have been strongly linked with a move for Southampton star Luke Shaw, who is considered a perfect like-for-like long-term replacement for Cole.

Unless the England veteran lowers his demands, his time at Stamford Bridge could come to an end this summer, with the former Arsenal man now allowed to talk to foreign clubs.

MLS side New York Red Bulls and big-spending Paris Saint-Germain have previously shown interest in Cole, who is now in his eighth season at Stamford Bridge and has made more than 300 appearances for Chelsea.

He has won nine trophies with the Blues, including the Premier League title in 2010 and the Champions League in 2012.

Manchester City striker Negredo rejected move to Moyes' Everton

The Spain striker was aware of interest from the Toffees in the 2013 winter transfer window but wanted to focus on finishing the Primera Division season with Sevilla

Manchester City striker Alvaro Negredo admits he could have joined Everton last January, but never seriously considered the possibility.

The Spain international made the switch to the Etihad Stadium from Sevilla in the summer, and has been an instant hit with supporters thanks to his 18 goals in all competitions.

Negredo could have been playing in the Premier League sooner, however, with David Moyes – the Manchester United boss then in charge at Everton – keen to take him to Goodison Park 12 months ago.

“There were some rumours about a move to Everton but I just wanted to finish the season with Sevilla,” he told reporters.

“I wanted to wait until it got to the summer before I started looking at other options. I never really considered the possibility of moving in January.”

Negredo’s impressive form continued with a hat-trick in City’s 6-0 hammering of West Ham in the first leg of the Capital One Cup semi-final on Wednesday. He is now one goal adrift of Sergio Aguero in the race to be the club’s top goalscorer.

The latter has been absent in recent weeks with a calf injury but Negredo realises it will still be difficult to outscore Argentina international.

He added: “I need to get more and catch him up because I know when he comes back he will score more goals.”

Modric: Alonso renewal great news for Real Madrid

The Croatia international has voiced his delight with the former Liverpool man’s extension, and has warned that Los Blancos cannot afford to spill any points against Espanyol

Luka Modric believes that Xabi Alonso’s contract renewal is “great news” for Real Madrid.

The 32-year-old Spain international appeared on the verge of leaving Los Blancos on a free transfer in the summer, but ended all speculation about his future earlier this week by signing a two-year extension, much to the satisfaction of his Croatian colleague.

“We’re all happy that Xabi Alonso has renewed,” Modric told his club’s official website. “We expected it and that’s great news that he’ll be with us for another two years.”

Modric has been in fine form for Carlo Ancelotti’s side this season and he freely admits that he is currently enjoying something of a purple patch.

“I feel good on the pitch and the key is that I have the confidence of the coach and my team-mates,” the former Tottenham ace enthused.

The playmaker then went on to discuss Sunday’s La Liga clash against Espanyol and stressed that Madrid cannot afford to drop points in Catalunya.

“We have to get ready for the next match, which will be tough,” the 28-year-old warned. “It’ll be the third match we play this week, but we have to win to close the gap with Atletico, Barcelona or both.”

Madrid currently sit third in the league table, trailing city rivals Atleti and reigning champions Barca by five points, with the top two set to meet at the Vicente Calderon on Saturday evening.

Wenger: Arsenal not in talks with Real Madrid about anybody

The Gunners manager insists that he is not negotiating for forward Alvaro Morata and would rather that there were no transfer window at all in the middle of a season

Arsene Wenger insists that Arsenal are not in talks with Real Madrid over the signing of Alvaro Morata – or any other players.

The Gunners boss has been linked with a January loan move for the Spain Under-21s international, who says that he would consider quitting Los Blancos if not afforded “a relevant role”, though coach Carlo Ancelotti has no intention of letting him go.

“We are not in talks with Real about anybody,” Wenger said at a press conference on Friday when asked about transfer negotiations with Madrid.

“I do not want to speak about any specific names. The people who are in the newspapers do not help us to win the game on Monday night. That is down the players who play here.”

The Frenchman went on to restate his distate for the “distraction” of the transfer window as a whole, arguing that it would be better to limit it to the summer.

“It’s always sensitiv,e especially when other players play for Premier League clubs,” the Arsenal manager continued. “At the moment, I believe we have no shortage unless some other big injuries. That’s why it’s important just to continue to focus on our performances and our next game.

“The transfer market is a distraction that, for me, is not welcome. I think it would be much better that there is no transfer market at all in January and the team starts and finishes with the same players would be fair unless you have big injuries.

“For the rest, what is important is that we focus on the quality of our performances because it’s a period that is very sensitive at the moment and every game is now a massive game.”

De Bruyne wants to leave Chelsea for Wolfsburg – Allofs

The 22-year-old has grown frustrated at his lack of playing time at Stamford Bridge and the Bundesliga side’s sporting director says that the midfielder wants a deal to happen

Chelsea midfielder Kevin De Bruyne wants to secure a move to Wolfsburg, says the Bundesliga side’s sporting director, Klaus Allofs.

The Belgian has found opportunities limited among fierce competition for attacking midfield places in Jose Mourinho’s side and the Germans have been openly interested for some time.

Though some reports have suggested that a deal is in place, Allofs stated that no such agreement has yet been found as they seek to give the youngster the first-team football he craves.

“The one who is the least relaxed [over this situation] is the player,” the Wolfsburg chief told Bild. “He wants to find his rhythm.

“It has become more clear that the players wishes to join [Wolfsburg] in the case that we find an agreement with Chelsea.

“We also talked about this topic with the [rest of the] team,” he added. “It can be unsettling for some players but this is an effort to make us even stronger.

“If we are successful, this is not a decision against any of our current players. We are very strong even without De Bruyne.”

The 22-year-old previously impressed in Germany during a season-long loan spell at Werder Bremen.