Chelsea fans will begrudgingly admit that Joe Cole has been shit for them since returning from injury. The winger that has always had to prove himself has been obviously frustrated by his lack of opportunities under Carlo Ancelotti and this has been reflected by his performances on the pitch.

I spoke to The Chelsea Blog ahead of Saturday’s game and they were worried by Cole’s lack of effort.

“The player who has surprised me most is Joe Cole,” they said. “I just can’t work out what’s happened to him. He’s always been a player who has had to prove himself season after season and he’s never truly been appreciated at Chelsea as far as I’m concerned. Having said that, no matter what’s going on behind the scenes, he has always produced the goods on the pitch. This season though, it just hasn’t been happening for him and together with the lack of a contract, that worries me a lot.”

Cole always said he would never bring his contract negotiations in to the press, the way “Chelsea legends” John Terry and Frank Lampard did, to squeeze more money out of the club they “love”. Maybe he was naive but he genuinely seemed to believe that football was more than just about money. Sadly for him, he is playing at the wrong club. Money is everything at CFC and after Cole’s poor season, the club aren’t interested in rewarding loyalty (that is something the club is interested in after the player threats to play football elsewhere) and have offered him a poor deal. He is 28-years-old and looking to sign the last big contract of his career but his club aren’t too bothered.

“I’ve never spoken publicly about contracts before,” Cole said at the beginning of March. “I don’t think contracts should really be discussed mid-season. I have always signed mine in the summer in the past. But this time it’s different. We can’t seem to find common ground and it’s distracting. At the moment there is no offer on the table, so I know where I stand.”

Cole has been heavily linked with a move to United, with Sir Alex Ferguson named as a long term suitor of the attacking midfielder. We wouldn’t offer him the money he wants from Chelsea, but we would offer him the opportunity to play for one of the biggest clubs in the world, under the best manager in the world, alongside some of the best players in the world. Whatever his feelings for Chelsea, he would be mad not to consider a future at United, regardless of what we offered him in weekly wages.

After a poor season for Chelsea, it comes as no surprise that he would have the game of his life against United. Just as our players recommended Eric Cantona to Ferguson after we played Leeds, and they did the same for Cristiano Ronaldo, I’m sure our lads will have a thing or two to say about Cole after his good performance today.

Is it really a coincidence that he’s been poor all season for Chelsea, where they’ve offered him little respect in terms of a contract, only to play out of his skin at Old Trafford in front of Sir Alex Ferguson? I don’t think so.

Ditch that godawful sweatband, Joe, and we’ll happily welcome you at United.