As scripts go, Asier Del Horno’s stay at Stamford Bridge did not go according to plan. At left back he was often the weakest link for the team, and Jose Mourinho will thank the football gods that he is getting back Wayne Bridge from Fulham – Bridge will still be ‘backup’, but on recent evidence he is a far better player than Del Horno and would serve Chelsea well.
But the media is not so concerned with how Del Horno has been sold for a loss than at what Chelsea will do next – now that Zambrotta is off the market, Chelsea have three main left-backs that they can target: Ashley Cole, Roberto Carlos and Phillip Lahm.
Ashley Cole seems to be the most likely recruit, despite Wenger’s constant assurances that Arsenal want to keep the player. Arsenal fans will undoubtedly lay the blame at the feet of Cole and his agent, but no matter who is at fault the fact is that if Chelsea can pay 16 million pounds, Cole is their’s for the taking.
As of now there has been no bid for Ashley Cole – probably because Chelsea want a) to explore other avenues to ensure that they’re not missing out on a good deal and b) to wait and see how the situation between Cole and Arsenal develops.
Of the other names, it seems like Roberto Carlos might be staying at Real Madrid now that Zambrotta has gone to Barcelona. Real Madrid have always been ‘outsiders’ for Ashley Cole and it is unlikely that Cole will choose to go to them. Still, Arsenal could refuse to sell Cole to Chelsea and offer him up to European clubs instead.
And while it is not for sure, Ashley Cole’s continued stay at Arsenal looks more unlikely every day, especially once you read this.