Di Matteo urges Chelsea bosses to retain Ashley Cole

Updated: Oct 28, 2012, 19:21 PM IST

London: Former Italian footballer and current manager of Chelsea Roberto Di Matteo has appealed to his bosses to retain Ashley Cole at all costs. Matteo`s plea comes as speculation mounts that Manchester United are lining up a move to pinch the player Di Matteo hails as "the best left back in the world" on a free when his contract expires at the end of the season, reports the Daily Express.

He has urged Roman Abramovich and his directors to break the deadlock in talks over a new deal for the 31-year-old defender or risk losing him to United or a host of other clubs all over the world. Matteo fears Cole and possibly Frank Lampard could go the same way as Didier Drogba did if the club`s directors dither. And as far as Cole is concerned he believes Chelsea can`t afford to let that happen - particularly with archrival Sir Alex Ferguson making no secret of his admiration for Cole.

"Negotiations are ongoing, but it needs to be sorted out. I would like him to stay with us. To me he is one of the best left-backs in the world. He is tactically superb both defensively and offensively and brings us a lot of attacking options. He is experienced, has stamina, everything," said Matteo. Cole has only been offered a one-year extension by Chelsea in line with club policy of giving season-by-season deals to players over 30.