Cole left out of Arsenal's opening match

Updated: 25 February 2007 10:36 IST

Arsenal left Ashley Cole out of its Premier League opener despite the defender's apparent willingness to play.

Cole left out of Arsenal's opening match

London:

Arsenal left Ashley Cole out of its Premier League opener despite the defender's apparent willingness to play."I feel if I include him today then he could be transferred tomorrow," Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger said. "But when I give somebody the promise that he can leave, I do not renege on my word and we have given him that promise."Cole is still being linked with an impending transfer to Chelsea ahead of Saturday's match against Aston Villa. The English champion is reluctant to meet Arsenal's valuation of the player."He has permission to leave if he can agree with any other club but he has not done that so he is available for us," Wenger said. "But of course the situation has to be stopped very soon because it is not good for him. And it is not good for us as well because we do not really know if we can rely on him or not."Wenger said he was still keen to work with Cole, who reportedly wants to join Chelsea."If he doesn't go, of course he is a great player," Wenger said. "He has permission to go somewhere if he wants to do it, but if there is not an opportunity for him and the club, he will stay at the club."Cole was left out of Arsenal's squad for Champions League qualifying and the season squad photo, but on Friday he said he would play against Aston Villa on Saturday if manager Wenger picks him."I have made myself available for selection this weekend and it is now up to the manager whether he decides to play me," Cole said in a statement through his management. "I have no problem with the fans and the manager. They have both been very supportive of me throughout my career. I hope the fans understand where my grievances lie."Cole criticised Arsenal's board in his forthcoming autobiography.His relations with the Gunners have been strained since last year when he, Chelsea, and Blues' manager Jose Mourinho were fined for breaking Premier League transfer rules by meeting without Arsenal's consent. (AP)



Topics : Football Arsenal
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