Chelsea desperate to keep Joe Cole

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Chelsea remain committed to extending Joe Cole's stay at the club beyond the expiration of his current deal next summer, according to assistant manager Ray Wilkins.

Cole has been involved in protracted negotiations about a new contract but has still not agreed terms, just three months before his Chelsea deal expires.

Talks between club and player have stalled over the midfielder's wage demands as he seeks to raise his salary from £80,000-a-week and into the bracket of higher earners at Stamford Bridge.

Speaking ahead of Sunday's FA Cup quarter-final against Stoke City, Wilkins said: "We are desperate to keep Joe.

"I know the club are and we as a management group feel the same. He is a very valuable asset to us.

"Joe himself is upbeat about his future here. He loves Chelsea and wants to stay. It is a contractual situation that he and the club, I am sure, will sort out.

"We sincerely hope he will be here next season."

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