Arsenal's very own doppelganger: Cole/Clichy
I don't read the back pages of tabloids (nor the front and middle pages for that matter).
They blur fiction with reality so often that they simply cannot be trusted to be delivering facts.
An article posted by Redsman and ensuing comments focused on the Ashley Cole/ Chelsea situation. This story had broken in the tabloids and for once they were spot-on. However, it has led to much speculation on Ashley Cole's true intentions and one comment states with confidence that Cole will leave Arsenal by the end of this summer.
I don't believe this will happen.
What is clear from the inquiry into the Cole affair is that Cole did meet Chelsea. However, it is not clear that Cole knew they would be present.
Even if Cole was aware, I believe there is a big difference in listening to suitors and the next step of accepting their offer.
I believe Cole met them so to gage what he could get from them, and factor this is into his negotiations with Arsenal. I also believe his agent has a personal interest in Cole moving to Chelsea- and may have been the driving-force behind influencing Cole to at least think about a move and meeting the top men at Chelsea.
Personally I'll be very surprised if Ashley Cole does go. He is Arsenal through and through, plays in a successful team that suit his attacking style, is well paid, and Arsenal are moving to a stunning new stadium the season after next.
Arsenal players have it very good. They are looked after very well. And they play for a coach that is dedicated to total football- the best football (in my opinion) there is. This is why Thierry repeatedly says 'I shall never go'. This is why Vieira didn't say goodbye when it came to the crunch. And this is why people shouldn't think that Cole leaving Highbury is a done deal.
Whatever the outcome of the Cole contract talks Arsenal always have their joker up their sleeve. He is Ashley Cole's doppelganger: Gael Clichy.
Quite aside from sharing the physical characteristics and the same high defensive and attacking qualities as Ashley Cole, he has really impressed me with his excellent temperament on the pitch (Wayne Rooney take note).
Arsene has a dilemma in that he has two fantastic young left-full backs who will be desired by other clubs. He won't want to let either go. Hence the solution tried by Arsene in the past month against Blackburn and Sheff Utd:
Gael Clichy at left back; Ashley Cole on left midfield.
And this solution worked very well. Both have the stamina to play all the way up and down the left side, so in effect Arsenal have two left defenders and two left midfielders on the pitch AT THE SAME TIME.
In terms of defensive cover and attacking speed on the left side, combining Clichy and Cole promises to be a winning medium-term combination.
I hope to see Arsenal's doppelganger combo at the start of next season.