Liverpool manager Brendan Rodgers is ready to offer Ashley Cole a Premier League lifeline at Anfield on a free transfer this summer, according to the Daily Star.
Cole has been frustrated by a surprising lack of first-team opportunities at Stamford Bridge this season, restricted to just 13 Premier League appearances by the form of Cesar Azpilicueta.
The 33-year-old has failed to convince Blues boss Jose Mourinho that he deserves to dislodge Azpilicueta from the starting XI despite boasting a wealth of experience, which makes his long-term future very much open to debate.
Chelsea have so far decided against offering Cole a new contract, which with his current deal expiring at the end of the season leaves him free to talk terms with other sides.
Rodgers has a strong relationship with Cole dating back to his time as a youth team coach and reserve team manager at Chelsea, leading to the Daily Star to conclude that Liverpool are interested in securing a sensational Bosman swoop for the England international.
Reds youngster Jon Flanagan has been a brilliant surprise at Anfield this season, but Rodgers now faces a delicate balancing act in terms of providing competition for places without harming the youngster's development.
Cole fits the bill on both fronts and wouldn't cost a penny in terms of initial transfer fee, a deal which would represent a similar proposition to their capture of Kolo Toure from Manchester City on a free last summer.
Mourinho has a number of decisions to make over a core of experienced players during the close season, with Cole, John Terry and Frank Lampard all out of contract and waiting on the offer of an extension.
While Terry and Lampard remain a firm part of his plans in the fight for silverware Cole has been sidelined, leaving Liverpool with every chance of persuading him to move on with the offer of regular first-team football at the highest level next season.