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Last Updated: Thursday, 10 August 2006, 06:43 GMT 07:43 UK
Chelsea break off from Cole talks
Ashley Cole
Chelsea claim they have options other than Cole
Chelsea have broken off negotiations with Arsenal over the transfer of England left-back Ashley Cole.

"Our offer is an excellent offer for an excellent player. It's in their hands. They say no and no is no," said Blues boss Jose Mourinho.

"The offer went to the limit. The club does not move one single pound more and I completely agree with that."

Mourinho, who is believed to have offered 20m for Cole, insists William Gallas will not be part of any deal.

"I haven't lost patience," added Mourinho, who also appeared to leave the door slightly ajar for the transfer to be revived.

"Ashley Cole is Arsenal's player and they have the power in their hands to say yes or no.

"We have been looking all the time at other players. When you try to sign a player, you can't think this is the only player in the world you can get. You have to look at some alternatives.

"Of course he was an important choice for us but I believe he was also an important choice for them and they probably want to keep him.

"You will have to ask Arsenal if it will happen now. If I sign another left-back. I only want one more left-back. I don't want two. But there is a chance it will happen."

You will have to ask Arsenal if it will happen now

Jose Mourinho speaking on Wednesday

The full statement from Stamford Bridge read: "Chelsea FC has been in discussions with Arsenal Football Club for some time over the possible transfer of Ashley Cole.

"Chelsea has made a very substantial offer for the player.

"Although discussions have continued, Arsenal's valuation of the player does not match Chelsea's and therefore no agreement can be reached in the current circumstances."

The saga of Cole's transfer to Chelsea started when the player was fined, along with Mourinho, for in June 2005 for meeting in a London hotel without Arsenal's knowledge.

Cole's relationship with the Gunners became strained and in promotional material for his new book the defender criticised the club for making him a "scapegoat" over the tapping-up affair.

Then this week Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, like his Chelsea counterpart Mourinho, said he wanted the saga resolved within the week.

"I do not know what will happen with Ashley Cole in the next few days, but for me certainly the deadline has come now to make a decision one way or the other," Wenger told BBC London on Monday.

"This week is the last limit I can expect something to happen."

It seems Cole could now start the season with Arsenal, however reluctantly.

The left-back, who played in last season's Champions League final and was an ever-present at the World Cup for his country, was left out of Arsenal's squad for Tuesday's match against Dinamo Zagreb.

Wenger insisted that was due to a lack of match fitness, rather than to avoid the player being cup-tied.

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