Ashley Cole moved on to 107 international caps for England last night, moving him ahead of all-time top scorer Bobby Charlton, but whether he will be adding to that tally in Brazil in the summer remains unclear.
The 33 year old played the first forty-five minutes in the 1-0 win over Denmark at Wembley, replaced by Southampton’s Luke Shaw at half-time.
Earlier in the week, Three Lions’ captain Steven Gerrard said that Shaw, 18, could be England’s left-back for the next ten years, but with Leighton Baines omission from Roy Hodgson’s starting line-up yesterday suggesting his place in his World Cup squad is assured, the question is whether his regular inclusion with the squad will begin now, or after the finals.
Should Cole make the cut, it would almost certainly be his international swansong, though Shaw impressed on his debut adding to shouts for him to pip the former Arsenal man to a place on the plane.
Shaw has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge in recent months, with a bid expected to be made when the transfer window reopens in the summer.
Manchester United are also set to make an over, though with Blues reportedly the team he supports, it is they who arguably have the edge.
Chelsea return to Premier League action tomorrow afternoon with the short trip to bottom of the table Fulham.
Eden Hazard and Jon Obi Mikel should feature, though neither completed ninety minutes against Galatasaray midweek after shaking off their respective knocks, while David Luiz will be assessed ahead of the game.
Goals from Oscar and Mikel secured victory for the Blues when the sides met at Stamford Bridge back in September, and another three points for Jose Mourinho’s men will ensure that they stay in first place.
However, if they fail to win Arsenal will be able to leapfrog them into pole position with victory at Stoke City, while third place Manchester City are playing in the Capital One Cup final at Wembley on Sunday.
Meanwhile, Ashley Cole has been named in Roy Hodgon’s England squad for next Wednesday’s friendly international against Denmark at Wembley.
The 33 year old will have the chance to win his 107th cap, though he will be up against fellow left-backs Leighton Baines and reported Chelsea target Luke Shaw – the latter of which the only as yet uncapped player in the thirty-man party.
Fellow Blues defender Gary Cahill has also been included, as has midfielder Frank Lampard.
Manchester United are determined to pip Chelsea to the signing of England U21 international Luke Shaw, the Metro understands.
The Blues have been considering a move for Shaw as they look for a long term replacement for Ashley Cole, while United are making plans for when Patirce Evra moves on.
With both club’s respective senior left backs linked with exits as soon as this summer, the race is on to see who will secure the 18 year old’s services.
The Southampton man is a Chelsea fan, which could give Jose Mourinho the edge though bookmakers have David Moyes as odds on favourite to complete the deal.
Meanwhile, the Blues’ boss has revealed that he is unsure how long John Terry will be out of action for, according to the Metro.
The club captain has missed the last three games through injury, having previously played every minute of the club’s Premier League campaign so far.
Jose Mourinho’s men take on Everton on Saturday lunchtime, though Mourinho is unsure whether Terry will be available for selection.
Should he miss the game, David Luiz is likely to retain his place alongside Gary Cahill at the heart of defence as Chelsea look to strengthen their grip on first place.
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is confident he can wrap up deals for both Edinson Cavani and Luke Shaw before this summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil, according to the Mirror.
A striker and a left back are high on the Blues’ boss’s list of targets with his current selection of strikers struggling for consistency, and with Ashley Cole’s time with the club seemingly drawing to a close.
Cavani appears to be the club’s first choice striker, with Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney set to sign a new contract at Old Trafford while Shaw is expected to be pursued by a number a clubs come the end of the season, with Chelsea and United currently the front runners in the race to secure his services.
The Blues are expected to part-fund the deals by selling fringe players such as Demba Ba and Romelu Lukaku, the latter of which is yet to play for the club having spent the last eighteen months out on loan first with West Bromwich Albion and then Everton.
There is also a doubt over three of the clubs senior players, with John Terry and Frank Lampard, along with Cole, not certain of new deals at the West London outfit.
Roy Hodgson has suggested that Ashley Cole may miss out on travelling to next summer’s World Cup finals, the Guardian understands.
The England manager has maintained that he would not write off the defender’s chances of making his squad, but has admitted that it is the 33 year old’s ‘turn to sit back’ after being first choice for so many years.
Everton’s Leighton Baines is Cole’s strongest competitor for a starting berth at left-back, while Luke Shaw of Southampton, who has emerged as one of the brightest talents in that position over the past twelve months, is set to be named in England’s squad for next month’s friendly against Denmark.
Cole has not started any of Chelsea’s last four games due to the continued form of Cesar Azpilicueta, who Jose Mourinho has selected ahead of him on a number of occasions this season.
Meanwhile, Arsenal’s inability to take all three points from their clash with Premier League champions Manchester United means that the Blues remain top of the table going into FA Cup fifth round weekend.
Manchester City were also unable to capitalise after their game against Sunderland was postponed due to the appalling weather conditions in the North West, while Liverpool moved to within four points of first place after beating Fulham 3-2 at Craven Cottage.
Chelsea head into tonight’s game against West Ham United looking for the three points that could see them return to the top of the Premier League.
Leaders Arsenal were held to a 2-2 draw at Southampton yesterday evening, giving both the Blues an Manchester City the opportunity to leapfrog them this evening.
City travel to Tottenham Hotspur, and anything less than three points for Manuel Pellegrini’s men will see Chelsea move into first place if they emerge victorious.
Fernando Torres and Marco van Ginkel are the Blues’ only absentees, though Mohamed Salah will have to wait for his debut as he is not currently in the country.
Meanwhile, Luke Shaw will hold out for a move to Chelsea rather than sign for Manchester United, the Mirror understands.
Both clubs have been strongly linked with a move for the Southampton left-back, who has emerged as one of the hottest English talents in the Premier League.
Premier League champions United are keen to finalise a deal for the eighteen year old before Friday’s transfer deadline having already broken their transfer record with the £37.1m signing of Juan Mata.
However Shaw is willing to remain at St Mary’s for the rest of the season, safe in the knowledge that the Blues will pounce in the summer.
Chelsea will use the money they received from Manchester United for Juan Mata to try and beat them to the signature of Southampton defender Luke Shaw, according to the Mail Online.
With Ashley Cole now 33 and yet to be offered a new contract, the Blues are keen on bringing in the highly rated left-back while United are looking to continue rebuilding after breaking their transfer record at the weekend by bringing in Mata.
The club are still in a £20m profit this month despite bringing in Nemanja Matic and Mohamed Salah, and are confident they have the financial muscle to get a deal for Shaw over the line.
However, the Daily Star understands that the South Coast club have absolutely no intention of selling the 18 year old.
Manager Mauricio Pochettino has reiterated that the Saints are keen to keep hold of all of their star players this month.
Elsewhere, reports in Spain suggest that an agreement has been made between Chelsea and Atletico Madrid for a swap deal for Thibaut Courtois and Diego Costa, the Mail Online understands.
Courtois has spent the last three seasons on loan with the La Liga side, while Costa, who is currently the second top scorer in La Liga behind Cristiano Ronaldo, is wanted by a host of European clubs.
Chelsea have completed the signing of former midfielder Nemanja Vidic for a fee in the region of £20m, Sky Sports understands.
The 25 year old originally moved away from Stamford Bridge in 2011 as part of the deal that saw David Luiz arrive from Benfica.
He has returned on a five and a half year deal, and becomes the Blues first signing of the January transfer window.
During his first spell at the club, the Serbian international made just three substitute appearances before moving to Portugal.
He could make his second Chelsea debut in Sunday afternoon’s clash with Manchester United.
Meanwhile, the club have been boosted in their hopes of signing Southampton left-back Luke Shaw following the news that chairman Nicola Cortese has left the club, according to the Express.
The 18 year old has been linked with a move to a number of clubs though both Cortese and manager Mauricio Pochettino have dismissed any speculation that they will sell.
However, with rumours that the Saints boss will follow his former boss out of the door at St Mary’s, the Blues are waiting to pounce.
Finally, midfielder Nathaniel Chalobah has returned to the club following his loan spell with Nottingham Forest.
The England U21 international made twelve appearances for the East Midlands side, scoring twice.
Frank Lampard will captain England against Chile at Wembley this evening, on a night where he will receive his Golden Cap.
He will be handed the honour, which is given to any England player who reaches over 100 international appearances, by two men who have been heavily involved in his career – father Frank Snr and Sir Geoff Hurst.
Should he play both tonight and against Germany on Tuesday, Lampard will move to within one cap of Billy Wright, while his Blues teammate Ashley Cole is also currently on 105 caps, and will hope to add to that tally over the next few days.
However, the former Arsenal man is facing still competition from Leighton Baines for a starting place both this weekend and at next summer’s World Cup finals in Brazil.
Manager Roy Hodgson has expressed his joy at his wealth of options in the left-back position with Arsenal’s Kieron Gibbs and Southampton’s Luke Shaw pushing both Cole and Baines in the hope of game time.
Elsewhere, Manchester United are set to offer Wayne Rooney a contract worth around £52m in a hope to bury any interest Chelsea have in signing him.
The forward has been in fine form this season having been strongly linked with a move to Stamford Bridge during the summer.
Reports in the Express claim that Chelsea have held a secret meeting with Atletico Madrid regarding the possible transfer of striker Radamel Falcao.
They say that Spanish TV station Punter Pelota claim the meeting resulted in an agreement that the Blues will pay roughly £5 million extra to secure the 27 year olds services.
The Colombian international, who has been linked with a move to Stamford Bridge throughout the season, has hit 21 goals in La Liga this season.
Paris Saint Germain, Real Madrid and Manchester City are also reportedly interested, though it is Chelsea who appear to have the edge.
Meanwhile, Talk Sport claim that the Blues are one of three London based clubs chasing Sevilla striker Alvaro Negredo.
The 27 year old Spanish international has scored 20 goals in 30 appearances this season, and is also reportedly being monitored by Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur.
Elsewhere, Chelsea will battle with Tottenham to sign Southampton left back Luke Shaw, according to Metro.
The paper claims that both clubs will table bids in the region of £16.5 million at the end of the season.
However, the 17 year old only signed a new deal at St Mary’s at the beginning of the year, and would be under no pressure to sell, especially if the retain the Premier League status.