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New Chelsea contract was always priority for Ashley Cole

Ashley Cole insists he always wanted to stay at Chelsea.

The England international joined the Blues in a controversial transfer from rivals Arsenal in the summer of 2006, in what has proven to be a hugely successful move. As well as playing a key role in their UEFA Champions League win last season, the left fullback has helped the Londoners secure one Premier League title and four FA Cups.

Cole was due to become a free agent when his contract expired at the end of the season, and he was attracting interest from two of his former coaches: Jose Mourinho and Carlo Ancelotti, who are now at Real Madrid and Paris St Germain respectively. More interestingly, Sir Alex Ferguson was also believed to be lining up a move for the 32-year-old, with the Manchester United boss a long-term admirer of his talent.

However, Cole has disappointed his suitors by penning a new deal which will keep him at Stamford Bridge until the summer of 2014. And after confirming the fresh agreement, he insisted that extending his stay at the club was always his priority.

"When you are going through this kind of thing, of course you always want to stay here but it was also in my mind that I could be leaving a club where I have great memories, and have enjoyed great times," he told the official club website. "I feel I have a good relationship with the people at the club and the fans and it would have been sad if I had had to leave.

"When I joined Chelsea I just wanted to try to be successful and win trophies and as player you don't really realise how many games you play each season. But to play nearly 300 (matches) in total is brilliant for me, and hopefully I'll play some more."

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