Ashley Cole confirms he will not play for Chelsea next season

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Ashley Cole confirmed via his official Twitter account he has made his last appearance for Chelsea, and is unsure of his future going forward.

Just a week ago the 33-year-old defender was left out of the England squad for the World Cup, and thus announced his international retirement after a phone call with Roy Hodgson.

It’s been a trying season for the legend, who ended international duty with 107 caps for his country and currently sits on 229 league appearances for Chelsea.

His contract expires this summer, and despite it being reported that Chelsea were willing to discuss a new deal, Cole is hoping to secure more playing time elsewhere after spending eight seasons at Stamford Bridge.

He has been supplanted not only on the international stage by the younger duo of Leighton Baines and Luke Shaw, but also at the club level by 24-year-old Cesar Azpilicueta, who reduced Cole to just 17 Premier League appearances, mostly in the first half of the season.

Looking at his numbers, it’s no surprise Jose Mourinho slowly transitioned away from the aging star.  He was successful with just 47% of his tackles, according to Squawka statistics, compared to 53% for Azpilicueta.  In addition, he averaged much less involvement in the defensive play, with just half the defensive actions per match of his counterpart.

And while Azpilicueta wasn’t statistically as good going forward, he built a positive relationship with Eden Hazard on the left side, allowing the Belgian to take the spotlight but also supporting well in both the overlap and the cover.

However, all is not lost for Cole.  With Branislav Ivanovic suspended for the Champions League semifinal first leg against Atletico Madrid, Cole stepped in beautifully, and followed that one up with another great performance at Liverpool in Chelsea’s shocking 2-0 win.

There will be plenty of speculation over Cole’s future next season, but it would make sense to see plenty of interest for his services in and out of the Premier League.  Just not at Stamford Bridge.

Marseille making Olivier Giroud top transfer target this summer

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Marseille did well to bring in one star this season but could the French side have another trick up its sleeve this summer?

Sky Sports is reporting that the Ligue 1 club is preparing to sign Arsenal striker Olivier Giroud over the summer and the sixth-place side is “willing to pay up to £20m (roughly $25 million).

Marseille made a splash this season when the club re-signed Dimitri Payet, who was playing with Premier League side West Ham at the time.

The team does boast several quality attacking options such as Payet and Bafetimbi Gomis, but Giroud could serve as an ideal target man in the Marseille attack.

Prior to joining the Gunners in 2012, Giroud starred for Montpellier and with a potential link-up in the attack with a creator like Payet, it could present a dangerous attacking threat to the rest of Ligue 1.

Giroud, 30, has scored 95 goals in all competitions since arriving in London with Arsenal.

Report: Chicharito talks heating up with Los Angeles FC

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We’ve seen MLS teams make major splashes in the past, and one of next year’s newcomers could be a really big draw if they can manage to seal the deal on a Mexican international.

[ MORE: Schweinsteiger shares thoughts on MLS and more in interview ]

According to Metro New York, Los Angeles FC is continuing its talks with Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez about a potential deal that would prove massive in terms of MLS spending.

While LAFC won’t debut in MLS until 2018, the club could potentially make the Mexico striker the highest-paid player in league history with an average salary of roughly $10 million.

The 28-year-old Hernandez currently plays in Germany with Bundesliga side Bayer Leverkusen, where he’s plied his trade since joining the club during the 2015/16 season.

Additionally, the former Manchester United man has dominated the international scene for El Tri, scoring 46 goals in 90 appearances for the CONCACAF nation.

Report: Bayern Munich scouted Walker, Alexis this weekend

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German publication Kicker says Bayern Munich technical director Michael Reschke attended both of this weekend’s FA Cup semifinals and had his eye on two players in particular.

Reschke apparently wants to bring players from both North London Derby rivals Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to the Allianz Arena.

[ MORE: Liverpool’s Top Four plight ]

In the case of Spurs, that man is right back Kyle Walker. The 26-year-old has also played right mid in 8 of his 35 matches for Tottenham this season, and was named in the PFA Team of the Year. It’s hard to believe Spurs would have interest in selling Walker, who would help fill the role of retiring Philipp Lahm.

On the other side is Alexis Sanchez, the embattled but electric Arsenal attacker who Arsene Wenger described as an “animal” and “always ready to kill the opponent” this weekend. Wenger says Sanchez isn’t going anywhere, but Bayern does boast Chilean teammate Arturo Vidal and former Barca mate Thiago Alcantara.

Walker is signed at Spurs through 2021, while Sanchez’s contract ends after next season.

Roma lands sporting director Monchi, a reported Arsenal target

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AS Roma has found its new sporting director, and it’s a man with a keen eye for talent.

Ramon “Monchi” Rodriguez Verdejo, 48, has spent the last 18 years as the sporting director at Sevilla, which won five UEFA Europa League titles under his watch.

Monchi was discussed in the media as a target for the same job at Arsenal and was a target for other Premier League clubs, but Roma sealed the deal with the former goalkeeper.

[ JPW: Oriol Romeu — The Perfectly Poised Destroyer ]

He is considered to have a big role in discovering and developing Sergio Ramos, Jesus Navas, and Dani Alves.

Read more from ASRoma.com.