Cole warned over contract hopes
Midfielder Joe Cole has been warned that Chelsea will have a wage limit when discussing new contracts this summer.
The Blues' England international and German skipper Michael Ballack are both due to start talks with the Premier League champions as they are set to be out of contract next month and will be available on a free transfer.
However, while Chelsea are particularly keen to retain the services of 29-year-old Cole, chief executive Ron Gourlay has told him to be realistic with his wage demands.
"We will sit down and talk to Joe Cole at the end of the season, and he knows that," he said.
"We will do that with a number of players, but when it comes down to salaries you have to draw the line somewhere.
"Every time we push the wage levels up higher we have somebody else knocking at the door.
"We've got to make a mark in the sand at some point."