Chelsea are confident of reaching an agreement with Ashley Cole in their ongoing contract talks with the England star, Press Association Sport understands.
It has been claimed that Cole, 31, has been offered a one-year extension to his current deal, which expires next summer, and was ready to walk away for nothing. But sources with knowledge of the negotiations are bemused by such suggestions amid what were said to be perfectly amicable talks, which began this summer.
It is understood that while Chelsea are more reluctant to offer long contracts to players in the thirties, each case in judged on its merits and Cole is viewed as someone with the potential to star at the highest level for several more years.
The left-back confirmed last month that discussions with the Blues were under way and rubbished suggestions he had demanded a pay rise to £200,000 a week. Reaching an agreement is not a foregone conclusion, however, as Chelsea discovered while negotiating with Didier Drogba during the final year of his contract.
There would doubtless be no shortage of suitors were Cole to enter the January transfer window without having signed on, as he would then be able to pen a lucrative pre-contract with another club.
He has been heavily linked with Real Madrid in the past, while plenty of other teams would be tempted to offer him mega-money deals.
Cole currently faces a race against time to be fit for England's second World Cup qualifier against Ukraine on Tuesday after being ruled out of tomorrow's opener in Moldova with an ankle injury.
Meanwhile, there is still a prospect of Florent Malouda leaving Chelsea in the coming weeks after he was banished from their first-team squad.
Malouda has been ordered to train with the Blues' under-21 side after allegedly snubbing several offers to quit Stamford Bridge during the transfer window.
The emergency loan window opens up this weekend and Chelsea could be tempted to try again to offload a disgruntled player who could easily prove a disruptive influence if he spends the entire final year of his contract kicking his heels.