Arsenal incited Cole to the push?
One suggestion I heard on the radio is that Arsenal had forced Ashley Cole to seek elsewhere for the pay rise he wanted, why he was found to have come into contact with Jose Mourinho and Chelsea with a view to a transfer. The theory is Arsenal know Cole is one of the best left-backs, perhaps attacking left-backs is nearer the mark, in Europe, yet they are not prepared to give him the rise he wants.
I don't see this view as being probable. I sense that Cole knows his reputation is as one of the best in his position and as a result he should be in the earning bracket as Patrick Vieira, Thierry Henry and Sol Campbell, the three main players who are on something in the region of £60,000 per week. Arsenal aimed to matched this figure less £6,000, double that which Cole was already on but that seemed insufficient, at the time, for Cole. Chelsea get to hear that Cole is not happy with that offered at Arsenal and could look for a way out for the right price. A meeting is arranged.
I wonder if the public holding of the meeting is significant. Could Cole have wanted the meeting to get back to Arsenal, to urge them to reconsider their offer to him? Perhaps Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon attended to hear what Cole and his agent Jonathan Barnett had to say, rather than to seek a deal? Or, plain and simple, word got to Chelsea that Cole wasn't happy with that offered to him and he would be prepared to listen to any other offer nearer to the figure he wanted. Chelsea are the only team, much less London team, that could match Cole's request.
The thing is the practice of approaching players who are still in contract without permission from that player's club, with the view of establishing an agreement in principal on terms, is not uncommon. Strict punishment should be meted out to help reduce its occurrence, and that meted out by the Premier League is paltry to the guilty party. What if this was to happen between two Championship teams?
Even after the decision was given, I would have expected a statement from the concerned parties. Cole could have apologised to the Arsenal fans for having to see him put through the inquiry, thank them for standing by him during the remainder of the season, than k the management for standing by him, and announce his intention to seek advice in regard to a possible appeal, as he strongly and vehemently denies any wrongdoing in the matter.
Chelsea apologise for nothing, they're not harmed. They could say they vigourously deny the decision found by the Premier League and intend to appeal against it. Chairman Bruce Buck considers that the rules governing speaking to players in contract should be relaxed a little by extending the period a player can talk to a club, or vice versa, in the last season of their contract. Currently, a player in such a situation can speak to foreign clubs after January 1st of that last season. English players can only to this after the 3rd Saturday of May.
But seeing as Chelsea do not lose out as a result of the inquiry, my focus is mostly on Cole, the player. Manager Arsene Wenger has stated he wants Cole to stay, while Cole remains silent. If an appeal is forthcoming, how high will it go and if it spills into the season, where would Cole's focus be? What is the likelihood that Wenger will drop Cole and plug instead for Gael Clichy, if there is an appeal, to avoid Cole playing while not concentrating on the pitch? The left-back may well feel slightly aggrieved at the Premier League decision, but wider implications are yet to surface. Particularly from the stands.
This is becoming a sticky affair for Arsenal more so than for Cole. One of their best players is in a position to turn renegade and that cannot aid preparations for the season. The old adage that an unhappy player should be allowed to leave resonates once again. With Vieira, Flamini, Silva and Fabregas, Edu could be allowed to leave. With Cole, Clichy is the only alternative. Who will give in? Wenger will continue to play Cole. Cole will play on while Arsenal either offer more or release him. I sense that Arsenal will see how the coming season goes, and if there is still a stalemate at the end they'll release him this time next year.