Ashley Cole has been strongly linked with a move away from Chelsea, but could he be forced to reconsider his options?
It is a real source of frustration for Chelsea fans that they have not offered Ashley Cole a deal he wants. The left-back feels he is being ushered out of the club at 31, even though he still has much to offer.
The most likely destination for Cole had emerged as a switch across the Channel to French side PSG, with even his mum letting slip via Facebook that the Paris club could be poised to sign him.
However that move could be about to take a step backwards. The reason being that the axe could be about to swing over coach Carlo Ancelotti.
PSG lost to Nice at the weekend, and have just four points from their last five fixtures. The Italian calling out record signing Javier Pastore and criticising him is a dangerous move. French newspaper L'Equipe are reporting today that the manager is on the verge of being dismissed.
Whether claims that Pep Guardiola has held talks with the club's owners over the weekend in Qatar are true or not remain to be seen, but the fact Ancelotti's future is in doubt is a certainty.
Ancelotti being sacked would see the Cole deal go from likely to unlikely, as the Italian was a key reason, if not the key reason why the player was looking at the possibility of signing for PSG.
So he will do doubt be monitoring developments closely, and Chelsea should pounce on the uncertainty to offer the defender what he wants, a deal of two years plus.
It won't be straightforward though, Cole will find it hard to buy into any plan of stability, with morale looking to be sapped in the early stages of Benitez's reign, and questions as to how long the 'interim' coach will be manager for.
Manchester United were linked with an unlikely move previously, who knows if Jose Mourinho takes over from Ferguson in May, he may look to bring his former player to Old Trafford.
Where next for Ashley Cole? Could he still stay at Chelsea?
image: © Ben Sutherland