SPORT
20/05/2014 11:47 BST | Updated 20/05/2014 16:59 BST

Ashley Cole To Leave Chelsea: Liverpool, Manchester United And Other Potential Moves

Ashley Cole's departure from Chelsea this summer will intensify several clubs' interest in the defender.

One of the best players available on a free transfer in European football, despite a largely forgettable season at Stamford Bridge, Cole demonstrated against Atlético Madrid and Liverpool he is still one of the best left-backs in the continent.

Handily, for the former England international, plenty of clubs need a left-back at home and abroad. Here are five potential destinations...

LIVERPOOL

The manner of Liverpool's catastrophic capitulation at Crystal Palace two weeks ago re-emphasised for the umpteenth time their defensive naivety. José Enrique is injured and unfancied by Brendan Rodgers, while the impressive Jon Flanagan is - like César Azpilicueta - a right-back by trade. Cole would give Liverpool experience, a title-winning mentality and security and will know Rodgers from his coaching stint at Chelsea.

MANCHESTER CITY

Aleksandar Kolarov has improved this season at Eastlands however there remain doubts over whether he is solid enough defensively. Gaël Clichy has regressed since his move to Manchester in 2011 and as the club target a first-ever Champions League win, there are fewer full-backs better than Cole to have in the XI for knockout football.

MANCHESTER UNITED

Rio Ferdinand's departure and Louis van Gaal's arrival would make a move to Manchester tolerable for Cole. Ferdinand's friendship with Cole broke down after his former international teammate gave evidence which "evolved" into a defence of Chelsea skipper John Terry, accused of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother, Anton.

ashley cole

Cole was excellent in the prosaic 0-0 draw at Old Trafford in August last year

United have needed a stellar left-back for at least two years, and Patrice Evra is also out of contract on 30 June. United are confident of signing Luke Shaw, though, and it is unlikely Cole will countenance such fierce competition at club level again, let alone against the man who ended his England career.

INTERNAZIONALE

Inter have been linked with a move for Evra for months but Cole is a superior alternative. They have already acquired Nemanja Vidić and although Cole is also in his 30s, both are capable of thriving in the chess-like Serie A. Whether Cole would relish moving to a side still nursing a hangover from their 2010 treble triumph is another matter.

ashley cole

Cole worked under Ancelotti for two seasons at Chelsea

REAL MADRID

Cole won his only Premier League title with Chelsea under Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti. Madrid have two capable left-backs in Marcelo and Fabio Coentrão, yet the latter almost joined Manchester United last year and Marcelo, being a Brazilian full-back, is a defensive liability. Madrid would probably have not considered poaching Cole if they had to pay a fee, which makes his availability attractive.

Ashley Cole's trophies