The most common of all the rumours is that Joe Cole, now returning to (fairly) regular football for Chelsea, is demanding a payrise to £120,000 a week. You can't believe everything you read when it comes to reported wages - I remember Liverpool fans getting very hot under the collar a few months back when I commented on gossip suggesting Glen Johnson was on £140k a week - and the papers are only guessing half the time. Needless to say, the figures being touted around about the Chelsea favourite are proving divisive with fans.
Each year, pretty much all of us want - and think we deserve - a payrise from our employer. We probably wouldn't expect a 20% payrise - the minimum figure which Cole is reportedly looking for - put a payrise nonetheless. Perhaps Joe is entitled to the same view?
As many Chelsea fans have pointed out on football chatboards and forums (and even over on this blog's facebook profile page), however much they appreciate him and his time at the club Joe Cole has hardly been a regular over the past couple of seasons. Bad luck with injuries has left him sidelined for long periods, and last season he only made 13 appearances in total. If anyone in regular employment had been unable to work for ten months out of twelve, they likely wouldn't be too hopeful of a decent payrise come the end of the year.
Since his welcome return, Cole hasn't been at his scintillating best, either, contributing four assists and one goal - compared to six goals and seven assists for Malouda, five goals and four assists for Kalou or three goals and one assist for Deco. Those stats don't make spectacular reading, and intuitively I suspect his best performances this season have come when Chelsea have already put opposition out of the game.
On the other hand, Ancelotti has been easing Joe Cole back into the team gradually. Probably wise after such a serious injury, but building up form can't be easy under those circumstances.
Form aside however, there is another significant bargaining chip working in Cole's favour. Chelsea have a real dearth of players of his type - someone who will take a man on or play that extra creative, speculative pass. Through adding a little 'fantasy' to Chelsea's play, Cole has found himself one of a kind at the club, and therefore harder to part with. Abramovich's supposed desire for sexier football must also be making it difficult for the money men to make the argument for Cole's wages not deserving to elevate beyond their current level - especially with a range of other suitors lining up for his services.
Chelsea fans are divided on Joe Cole's contract. Most, if not all, see him as a quality player feeling his way back to form who Chelsea should work hard to ensure stays at the club. I for one see him as an infinitely preferable option to the likes of Deco, for example, and replacing him in today's market would surely be an expensive task. Perhaps more than anything else, Joe is Chelsea through-and-through, and has repeatedly stated how much he sees playing for the club as a priviledge - a kind of commitment not always found in today's game.
Many fans, me included, agree however that any new deal needs to represent value for money for the club and, regardless of his allegiance and poor fortune with injuries, his recent record doesn't warrant a significant payrise.
Hopefully all the media chatter is just a result of his agent chancing his arm (it probably is), and we'll hear news of Joe signing a new, reasonable contract in the coming weeks.
What do you think? Post a comment...