News broke yesterday that Ashley Cole had terminated his contract with Roma. The scuttlebutt is that this clears the way for Cole to move the LA Galaxy.
The former England international signed with Roma in Summer 2014 after his contract at Chelsea expired. The deal was initially for two years, but Cole had not played in a competitive first team fixture in ten months. His contract was set to expire this summer, and despite his frustration with the lack of opportunities Cole seemed resigned to running out the clock. But various reports suggest that the Galaxy approached Cole and convinced him to swap out the warm weather and glamor of Rome for… the warm weather and glamor of Los Angeles.
The Galaxy reportedly first approached Cole a year and a half ago before his move to Roma, but the outgoing Chelsea fullback said he was “not ready to relax on a beach yet.”
His departure from Roma continues his trend of relatively low-key exits from his clubs. Arsenal low-balled a contract extension offer in 2006— the bookend to an increasingly acrimonious relationship— and didn’t seem bothered to let one of their key first-team players walk to a London rivalry for practically nothing. A year and a half ago, Cole was one of a few club veterans (along with current NYCFC man Frank Lampard) that Chelsea allowed to leave on a free transfer as Mourinho set about clearing the decks to build what would ultimately be the title-winning team of 2014-15.
He made just 16 appearances for Roma in 2014-15 and none this season. It’s unlikely he would’ve seen any action before his contract ran out, and at 35 years old Cole has more closed doors than open ones in front of him.
Still, this is a curious move for the Galaxy. More so in light of manager Bruce Arena’s comments to the press about Major League Soccer’s lack of focus on youth development, citing the influx of international talent in particular.
“I happen to be of the belief that — and listen, [we] don’t have any excuses here either, we have international players — this league should be focused on our domestic players, and we’re losing that. We’re not the EPL, where you have these fabulous players from all around the world. I think we need to have the right balance there as well, domestic players to international.”
Arena made those comments yesterday, the day the Cole story broke.
The club could announce the signing as soon as today. At press time it’s unclear whether cosplay will be involved.