In a highly successful period at Arsenal, Cole was prominent as the Gunners won two Premier League titles and a whopping 3 FA Cup trophies. However, Cole received what he considered an inadequate contract offer, paving the way for his move to Chelsea.
Despite Arsenal initially asking for £25 million for Cole, he eventually moved to Chelsea for a bargain £5m, with William Gallas joining the Gunners as part of the deal – thereby tempering the low price that Arsenal agreed a sale for.
‘Well, I would say personally, most of the time, the players gave us seven, eight, nine years and left after…The younger generation like [Cesc] Fabregas we lost early and would not have loved to lose him…The player I think we, internally, it was a mistake to lose was Ashley Cole…Because he was playing at nine, 10 years old for the club. I knew with Fabregas that taking him away from Barcelona, at some stage he’d want to go back to Barcelona….But Ashley Cole came out of the club. I think it was a misunderstanding over a few thousand pounds…At the time, we spoke about [Roman] Abramovich when he came into the game, Ashley Cole is one of the few players who developed even more and continued to develop when he left.’
If there is some consolation for Arsenal, Cole scored 9 in 228 appearances for the Gunners, whereas for Chelsea, Cole only managed 7 goals in 338 appearances…not that scoring goals was what he excelled in..more stopping them!