When Joe Cole returned to action earlier in the season from a long injury lay-off Chelsea fans were pleased to see the return of their flair player.
But just a few months on and Cole’s future at the club he supported as a boy has been thrown into doubt and this is of some concern to the fans that see him as a creative influence, a player that can create something out of nothing.
There are rumours about Cole making a summer move to big spenders Manchester City when his £80,000 a week contract expires in June, in fact he can already sign a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club which will force the Blues’ hierarchy into a swift decision.
Cole wants a pay rise to £130,000 bringing his wage into the region of other high earners such as Michael Ballack, Nicolas Anelka and Michael Essien but the Blues are only offering £100,000.
Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has come out this week and stated that his future will be sorted this week after Cole once again demonstrated his skills in the 7-2 demolition of Sunderland.
He added: “I am personally a big fan of Joe Cole and we are in discussions with his agent and hopefully that will be sorted out soon.”
But with the funds to match Cole’s wage demands and a rumoured £5 million signing on fee, the Eastlands club are keen to add another star to their attacking options but the question is what would Cole really gain from a move to City?
When you look back to the start of Abramovich’s revolution Chelsea began signing young players for huge fees and these talented stars such as Shaun Wright Phillips and Glen Johnson were largely bench warmers.
Whilst Cole is a far more established star there are question marks as to whether he would have any more success at City than at a Chelsea team that is sat at the top of the league and fighting to win the FA Cup and Champions League.
And would he really play any bigger role at City than he does at the Bridge with the City forward line already comprising Carlos Tevez, Emmanuel Adebayor, Craig Bellamy, Martin Petrov, Robinho, Roque Santa Cruz., Benjani and ironically Wright-Phillips before any further activity in January.
Spurs and City’s arch-rivals Manchester United have also been muted as possible summer destinations with Harry Redknapp and Sir Alex both seeing him as one of the most talented Englishmen of his generation.
When Cole, 28, burst onto the scene a decade ago, he was quickly labelled as a ‘wonderkid’, but has struggled with injuries. Despite this he has still played a vital role in Chelsea’s recent success, playing over 250 games for the club and netting 38 times.
And with Cole being a childhood Blues supporter you have to wonder if he would want to leave the club where the fans see him as one of their own.
He said: “I’m very lucky to play for Chelsea – it could not have worked out. So I count my blessings that I’m here and I want to give it my best shot and achieve whatever I can in the game.
“I would probably still be coming to watch now if I wasn’t a footballer. I’d come and pay to watch Chelsea, the same as the fans.”
And if it is purely a financial move that happens in the summer it is another point for those who say footballers are in it for the money and there is no loyalty left in the game.
Here’s hoping he makes the same decision JT did last summer and shuns the big money move.