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English Premiership

Chelsea tell Real to keep off

LONDON, July 21 – Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck has dashed Jose Mourinho's hopes of luring Ashley Cole to Real Madrid by insisting the England defender is not for sale.Cole has been linked with a move to Real since former Chelsea boss Mourinho took charge at the Spanish club earlier in the close-season.

It has been reported that Cole is unhappy with life in England in the aftermath of his seperation from pop star wife Cheryl and was considering a move away from the Premier League to avoid any more media intrusion into his private life.

But Buck is adamant a transfer would not help the 29-year-old and he has made it clear that Chelsea have no intention of selling the former Arsenal left-back anyway.

"Ashley Cole is not for sale," Buck told The Guardian on Wednesday. "That’s the bottom line on that. There’s no doubt that he’s going to be a Chelsea player this season.

"Ashley is a superb player. He is a delight to deal with around the football club, he gets on very well with everyone, he trains very well and he is really a model athlete.

"Obviously, he is not happy with how his private life has become the focus of everything around him and I think we’d like to work with him so that he has a bit of a lower profile.

"We don’t think the problem will change if he went to somewhere else outside of the UK, so I think we want to work with him here to make his personal life more enjoyable.

"We say to all our players that might have personal issues that we want to help them as much as we can and even (Chelsea manager) Carlo Ancelotti has said that on several occasions."

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Buck also emphasised Chelsea’s desire to keep Didier Drogba despite his agent’s claim this week that he had talked to Manchester City about a potential move for the Ivory Coast striker.

"The club position is pretty straightforward. Didier had the golden boot, Didier had a great season, Didier is an important part of our plans for this season and the future and he is not for sale," Buck added.

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