Arsenal will make Joe Cole their highest earner after the World Cup as they prepare to beat off competition from Manchester United and Tottenham Hotsur, according to reports.
Cole, 28, rejected a deal from Chelsea after demanding parity with the likes of Frank Lampard and John Terry, despite missing the bulk of last season with a serious injury, but Arsenal are prepared to give him that.
According to the Daily Star, the Gunners will offer Islington-born Cole £135,000 per week in a packet that works out as £4 million per year plus an additional £2.5 million a year in signing-on fees.
A source told the Daily Star: “The offer is on the table and has been agreed in principle by both parties.
“The only way Joe won’t go to Arsenal is if he suffers an injury during the World Cup or another club comes in with an improved offer late on.
“Arsene is mindful that Joe spent a lot of time out with a serious knee injury but if he comes through England’s campaign in South Africa then he know he is completely over that,” the source added.
Spurs boss Harry Redknapp, who nurtured Cole through West Ham’s youth system and into the first team, has shown a keen interest but Cole has plenty of suitors within the established top four, plus cash-rich Manchester City.
If there were one team capable of trumping Arsenal’s offer if would be Roberto Mancini’s side and, considering he is available on a free transfer, the Gunners will not be toasting his imminent arrival just yet.
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