Agent Jonathan Barnett has told The Guardian that Ashley Cole’s decision to leave Arsenal for Chelsea in 2006 was the best decision the left back ever made, even if it didn’t come from the heart.
Cole’s switch to Chelsea became the subject of one of the most famous transfers in English history, such was the controversy involving the now-famous tapping up story.
Barnett, Jose Mourinho and Peter Kenyon met in a London hotel for secret talks – a meeting which later landed Cole’s agent a whopping great fine and a nine-month ban from the FA.
Still, in Cole’s case some could say it was all worth it as the left-back went on to win multiple trophies with the Blues including four FA Cups and of course the 2012 Champions League title.
While Arsenal may have been in his heart the whole time, Barnett felt the Gunners didn’t stay true to their end of the deal and Cole’s switch to Stamford Bridge was in hindsight the right option.
“If Arsenal hadn’t gone back on their word, Ashley would have stayed 100% and that would never have happened. I’m not justifying it, but explaining it,” Barnett explained.
“But it was probably the best thing that ever happened to Ashley Cole. Arsenal won nothing, he won everything and financially he was much better off. My job as an agent was done.”
The right move?
There is no telling what would have happened to Cole or Arsenal had he decided to remain in North London, yet the success he achieved at Chelsea surely justified his reason to leave.
The 34-year-old won eight major trophies at Stamford Bridge, picking up the club’s Players’ Player of the Year award twice as well as the England Player of the Year honour in 2010.
It’s a transfer which will still be spoken about and remembered for years to come, both for the right reasons and the wrong reasons.