Cole, who came under fire last week following a profane outburst on Twitter directed at the English FA, is out of contract at the end of the season and could leave as a free agent.

It is understood the 31-year-old has been offered a one-year deal at Stamford Bridge but is determined to hold out for better terms.

Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid - both led by managers who worked with Cole at Chelsea - loom as options outside England, while Manchester United and Manchester City also shape as potential suitors.

With Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich apparently reluctant to guarantee a future to the club's senior players, Cole could be on his way out.

Didier Drogba, 34, left for Chinese side Shanghai Shenhua in June after rejecting a one-year extension at Chelsea.

He joined up with former Chelsea team-mate Nicolas Anelka, who claimed on Monday that players are forced out of the side once they reach the age of 30.

"At Chelsea, as soon as you get past 30, you get the impression you're too old," Anelka told The Express.