Its been a fairly eventful weekend for transfer activity surrounding Chelsea, there are a few different names floating around now, and the usual suspects are still going strong as we head closer to January.

We’ll begin with the Ashley Cole contract debate. Allegedly he has rejected a 1-year-contract extension and is on the brink of leaving on a free transfer at the end of this season. Most of you are aware, here at Chelsea we have this ‘over 30s policy’, which means when a player hits the age of 30, they are only ever offered a 1-year extension on their contract, which let’s just say, is not as lucrative as what they have been used to earning at Stamford Bridge. The same thing happened with Didier Drogba, when he left at the end of last season on a free, seemingly to earn more money.

So the debate as ever continues, and this one really is split down the middle from what I have read. Many of you want Cole to stay and feel that regardless of his age, he should be offered a decent contract of at least two years, after all, he is the best left back in the world. I totally understand these thoughts, but I’m afraid I disagree.

Cole is a world-class left back, and yes he will come back to haunt us, I also want him to stay. But, having said that, we have a policy here that is adapted to create a young squad and I agree with the policy, look at how exciting, young and fresh our attack is shaping up to be these days, its a joy to watch. If we make an exception for Cole, then we’d have to make exceptions everywhere.

I believe that it is not the contract length that Cole is unhappy with, but it is the amount he is being offered, he wants more. I’m afraid that no player is bigger than the club, although I do fully respect Cole for his service to the club and admire him immensely. As I said, I’d love to see him stay, but if he leaves, it’s not the end of the world. In fact, it opens up opportunities for Ryan Bertrand and Patrick Van Aanholt, who in my opinion both deserve a chance. Especially Bertrand, he’s shown real class since his time with us and I feel after this season, he will be ready to fill Cole’s boots at club and international level.

I can’t see neither the club or player giving in here, and I’m afraid we could well be about to witness another Drogba situation, which does upset me to a certain extent, but it’s the clubs policy, we must respect that, they want opportunities for younger players and an overall younger squad.

Moving on, Tottenham’s Benoit Assou Ekotto has been linked as a January transfer target for us. I rate him, I’ve always admired his style of play, but no, he won’t be joining us in January, or any other time. He is 28-years-old, less than 2 years away from being over 30, I do not believe for one minute we’ll be signing him whether Cole leaves or not. It’ll be Bertrand, Van Aanholt, or we might be ruthless and sign another young left back if they feel they can’t rely on the talent we have, which would be a shame.

Meanwhile, Talksport claim that Chelsea are looking at Brazilian holding midfielder Paulinho. The 24-year-old currently plays for Santos and has gained 5 international caps, battling with Ramires for Brazil’s holding role. From what I have seen, Paulinho is a good holding player, but once again, I see this as purely speculation, after all, we have Obi Mikel, who we know is rated highly be Di Matteo and his staff, add to that our young Spaniard Oriol Romeu, that’s already two accomplished holding midfielders before even mentioning Ramires or Essien.

Another midfielder who we are scouting is 26-year-old Senad Lulic, who has been involved in contract stand offs with his current club Lazio. This has alerted a number of top European clubs, including us, who are seeking to get a bargain for the Bosnian international. There could be a little more in this and I believe we have actually scouted this player on a number of occasions before, so there might be something there, although age is not on his side nearing 27.

Finally, one of CFCnet’s readers raised a very good point with me regarding the much talked about and wanted striker Radamel Falcao. Yes, he is world class, yes he is a goal scoring machine, yes he offers everything that a class centre forward should have, and yes I would LOVE to see him playing for Chelsea. But, look at his age, in February he turns 27-years-old. which is a mere 3 years away from our over 30 policy, which means we could end up paying £45 million for a player we could only use for 3 years, is that really good business? I’m sure that he too would not be prepared to accept lower wages and a one year contract.

I got lost in the hype and failed to see this point, but upon thinking it over, I completely agree that going for Falcao could well be a mistake and we might possibly be seeking a younger option, to spend our money more wisely.

So, it goes back to Leverkusen striker Andre Schurrle. He is 22-years-old next month, and will come a hell of a lot cheaper than Falcao. Chelsea have been scouting him for years and are very keen in acquiring him, that’s a fact. He is a regular the German international setup and has the advantage of being versatile. Currently playing as a centre forward, he can also operate on the wings or as an attacking midfielder. Admittedly he had a slow start this season in the Bundesliga, but it seems he has found form of late and his goal scoring touch. He might not be the option we go for, or even the best option, but he has youth in his favour, and Chelsea clearly want a youthful side with very few ‘old guards’.

Simon Phillips – News Editor

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