Jose Mourinho is reportedly planning to test Ashley Cole‘s commitment to Chelsea by offering the England left-back the chance to team up with his former manager at Real Madrid.
Mourinho is expected to officially confirm his switch from Inter Milan to the Bernabeu later today following a meeting with club president Florentino Perez, less than 48 hours after securing the Champions League title with the Nerazzuri on Saturday evening.
The Portuguese coach did not travel back to Milan with the rest of the Inter squad, where flocking fans greeted them at 6am yesterday at the San Siro.
Instead, he and his team of representatives were locked in final talks with the Madrid hierarchy, with the former Chelsea manager demanding complete control of team affairs as he bids to rebuild Los Blancos in his image.
Mourinho is said to have already drawn up a list of potential transfer targets that is heavily weighted with the names of his former players (including Chelsea hitman Didier Drogba and Inter trio Maicon, Wesley Sneijder and, unsurprisingly given his recent heroics, Diego Milito) but it is defender Cole – who tasted cup success under Mourinho at Chelsea – who is the Special One’s priority signing, given Madrid’s current lack of a world class left-back.
29-year-old Cole has four years left to run on his £100,000-a-week contract at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea will not let him go without a fight, given that he is widely considered to be one of – if not the – best left-backs in the world. However, it is thought that a bid of around £25 million would be enough to persuade the Blues to part with their man.
It is also thought that the promise of a fresh start in a foreign country may appeal to Cole, who has been struggling with an increasingly intrusive media presence in his private life, following his tumultuous separation from his wife.
Whereas the ‘Ashley-Cole-to-Real’ rumours have been circulating for quite some time now, it is undeniable that the once-spurious speculation now has an added element of gravity – that element being the sway of a certain Mr. Jose Mario dos Santos Felix Mourinho.
The Portuguese coach seems to hold an almost magnetic hold over the affections of his former players, with testimonials abound over his man-management capabilities.
For what it’s worth, I would not be surprised if we witness a mini-exodus of top Premier League talent (including Cole) over the summer, leaving these shores in search of what every professional footballer craves so deeply – and what Mourinho can seemingly almost guarantee – domestic and European silverware.