LONDON: Chelsea coach Roberto Di Matteo has admitted that the European champions could lose Ashley Cole and Frank Lampard if the club are unable to agree new contracts with them.
Both players will be out of contract at the end of the current season and will therefore be able to sign pre-contract agreements with other clubs in January, unless Chelsea extend their current deals.
Reports suggest Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich is only willing to offer one-year contract extensions to players aged 30 or over, meaning that Cole, 31, and 34-year-old Lampard could be tempted to look elsewhere.
Asked if he was worried about the pair leaving in the New Year, Di Matteo said: “Yeah, but that's the world of football.
“That's how you live in this world, in this industry.
“We had the same last season with some players and, at the end of the day, we all have to be professional and try to do our best, even though maybe the contract is not sorted out.”
Chelsea saw Didier Drogba and Salomon Kalou leave Stamford Bridge last summer, after both players were unable to agree new deals with the club.
Lampard has reportedly attracted interest from Major League Soccer outfit LA Galaxy, as a potential replacement for his former England colleague David Beckham.
Cole, who has won 99 caps for England, has been linked with Real Madrid and big-spending Ligue 1 club Paris Saint-Germain, and Di Matteo is in no doubt that he still has much to offer at the highest level.
“He's a fit boy. He can play every game, so he still has many years in front of him,” said the Italian.
Di Matteo also confirmed that midfielder John Obi Mikel was in talks over a new contract, amid reports the Nigerian would be offered a five-year deal.
He also said there was no possibility of John Terry deciding not to see out the remaining two years of his Chelsea contract, branding reports linking the Blues captain with Valencia as “nonsense”.