Di Matteo cools Chelsea exit links

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Interim Chelsea boss Roberto Di Matteo has played down speculation linking Ashley Cole and Raul Meireles with summer moves away from west London.

The Italian tactician, who has taken temporary charge of first-team affairs following the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas, has reiterated his belief that both players will still be at the club next season.

Blues owner Roman Abramovich is expected to continue the planned overhaul of an ageing squad at Stamford Bridge, but Di Matteo is confident the proposed list of summer casualties will not include either Cole or Meireles.

"No. Both players are under contract with Chelsea," he is quoted by Sky Sports. "I think it's the time of the year when the season ends and speculation and rumours start.

"They are all Chelsea players and we are confident they will be in the future."

Meireles was signed by Villas-Boas on transfer deadline day back in August, but has failed to make a significant impact during a difficult debut season with Chelsea.

Meanwhile, Cole's future has been the subject of much speculation, along with fellow senior stars Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba, ahead of what is anticipated will be a busy summer at Stamford Bridge.

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