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Losing Cole would be a bodyblow to Arsenal, says Henry

Written by: Staff
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LONDON, Aug 9 (Reuters) Arsenal captain Thierry Henry said selling England left back Ashley Cole to champions Chelsea would be a massive blow to his club.

''Let me make it clear - I don't know what is happening with Ashley Cole.

''But the fact remains that if Ashley goes, we would be losing one of the team's best assets for the second year running,'' Henry told today's Sun newspaper.

Cole has been linked with a move across London ever since he was involved in the infamous ''tapping-up'' affair in January 2005 for which he and Chelsea were heavily fined by the Premier League.

The 25-year-old did not travel with Arsenal for yesterday's Champions League qualifier in Croatia against Dinamo Zagreb, which the London side won 3-0.

Henry said losing Cole would have the same affect as when compatriot Patrick Vieira left for Juventus a year ago.

''Ashley was tremendous in the World Cup. That is a fact.

People can say what they want but he would be very difficult to replace,'' added the Frenchman.

''The loss of Vieira was massive - like it would be if Ashley goes.

''Obviously we want him to stay. He is one of the best left-backs in the world. We would miss him badly.'' The two clubs have held informal talks and Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho confirmed that the champions had made an offer.

''Arsenal have an offer from Chelsea, if they accept they accept, if they don't, they don't,'' Mourinho told the club's Web site.

''It's in their hands. But we have other options. We cannot play a whole season with only Wayne Bridge. For a couple of days we have no solution about Ashley Cole.'' Chelsea are in the market for a left back after selling Spaniard Asier del Horno to Valencia.

REUTERS AY BST1445

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