Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson is prepared to sanction a sensational swoop for Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole, according to the Daily Mail.

The United manager is thought to be a huge fan of the England international, and will look to bring Cole to Old Trafford on a free transfer. Cole’s Chelsea contract expires at the end of this season, and the 31-year-old is yet to sign a new deal.

The Stamford Bridge side are reportedly ready to offer Cole a one-year extension to his current deal, but the England fullback is believed to favour a longer term contract.

And Ferguson is thought to be ready to take advantage of the situation by luring Cole to Old Trafford. Widely regarded as the world’s best left-back, Cole has been hugely successful at Chelsea since moving from London rivals Arsenal in 2006.

The pacy fullback has won one Premier League, four FA Cups and a Champions League with Chelsea, but after six years at Stamford Bridge, the defender may opt to move elsewhere.

Cole made a big impression on Ferguson when it became clear the left-back was one of the few defenders in the world capable of keeping then-Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo quiet.

The 31-year-old did so at Euro 2004, and then again repeatedly throughout their Premier League careers. The Daily Mail also reports Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney is best friends with the Chelsea defender.

United have doubts about the long-term future of Patrice Evra, and although Dutch fullback Alexander Buttner was brought to Old Trafford in the summer, the former-Vitesse defender’s role is to provide competition for another senior fullback at Manchester United.

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Ashley Cole
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