Cole targets captain role
By Tom Adams. Last Updated: January 1, 1970 1:00am
Ashley Cole has revealed he would love to be Arsenal captain in the future despite becoming embroiled in a tapping-up row with London rivals Chelsea.
The England international has been one of The Gunners' most consistent performers in recent years, but has been charged by the FA for his part in a clandestine meeting with Roman Abramovich's Blues.
The controversy has left Cole's future at Highbury in some doubt, although boss Arsene Wenger has always emphasised his intention to keep the talented left back.
Now, with Arsenal seemingly ready to match Cole's wage demands which they previously baulked at, the 24-year-old has indicated a desire to take the captain's armband from current incumbent Patrick Vieira.
"You never know what's going to happen in football, but I'd love to be captain," said Cole.
Whilst it seems more likely that Cole will commit his future to Wenger's side, he has also urged the board of the North London outfit to make a statement of intent in the summer and keep up with the financial spending of their Premiership rivals.
Wenger has always exercised a cautious financial approach, despite constant denials from the board that the development of the Emirates Stadium has severely curtailed his spending power.
Following a season in which Arsenal's lack of strength of depth has been exposed as inexperienced youngsters such as Cesc Fabregas and Mathieu Flamini have been used extensively, Cole has declared that investment is crucial if the club are to progress.
"The club definitely needs to invest to avoid being left behind," Cole told New Nation weekly.
"We've got a great young squad but, when it comes to vital games, maybe we would have got out of jail with a bit more experience.
"It is quite hard sometimes when you see Chelsea and even Manchester United buying big-name players and chucking their money around.
"You would love your club to have a lot of money to buy great players.
"Of course it is good that we are bringing the young ones through but sometimes I think if we would have had a top-class midfielder or top-class player to fill someone's boots it would have been a little bit easier."
Previous reports have indicated that Wenger will be given a substantial war-chest in the summer, with a new keeper and midfielder a priority for the French tactician.
Meanwhile, Wenger has confirmed that French starlet Gael Clichy will miss the rest of the season due to a foot injury sustained in training, after filling in admirably for Cole on frequent occasions during the current campaign.
"It looks like his season is over," Wenger lamented.