Football: Chelsea confirm Joe Cole and Michael Ballack departure

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Joe Cole signed for Chelsea for £6.6 million (US$9.55 million).
Image: John Dobson.

Chelsea, a football club based in London, United Kingdom, have confirmed that Joe Cole and {{w:|Michael Ballack}} will be leaving on free transfers during the summer transfer window.

Chelsea, the current Premier League champions, reportedly stated they did not wish to offer Cole, an English international currently with the country's national team at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, another contract for next season. They declined to offer Germany captain 33-year-old Ballack a new deal; the player had been missing out on the World Cup with injury.

Cole has been at the club since joining from fellow London side West Ham United in 2003, while Ballack's previous club was Bayern Munich of Germany, arriving under José Mourinho.

Ballack was claimed to be "extremely surprised" by the news, having been on holiday in Miami, United States at the time of being informed, according to agent Michael Becker. Ballack had previously rejected a reduced-wage, one-year contract, and was once the highest-earner at Chelsea, with a weekly wage of £121,000 (US$175,123).

Several sources believe that many top finishers in the Premier League, including runners-up Manchester United, are keen to speak to 28-year-old Cole, as he has been free to initiate negotiations since January. However, no deal has yet been confirmed to have started.