Chelsea look to deal in Cole, Alex

Chelsea are to concentrate on finalising new long-term contracts to Brazilian defender Alex and England midfielder Joe Cole following Salomon Kalou's decision to sign a new three-year deal.

Alex is understood to be on the brink of accepting a new two-year offer, while Cole, whose current contract expires next year, is expected to be handed a longer contract. The Blues are prevented from signing any players in the next two transfer windows after being found guilty of inducing teenager Gael Kakuta to breach his contract with Lens two years ago.

Chelsea have appealed against the verdict but in the meantime they are determined to keep their current squad together. Kalou, 24, joined John Terry, Ashley Cole, Didier Drogba and Michael Mancienne in committing his long-term future to the club when he put signed his new contract.

There had been some rumoured cross-capital interest in the player from Arsenal, but the Ivorian is delighted to be remaining at Stamford Bridge. Kalou also helped Côte d'Ivoire reach next summer's FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa over the weekend, and the new contract caps a fine week for him personally.

I am happy with my week, we qualified for the World Cup and I sign a new contract with Chelsea, it is an excellent week for me.
Salomon Kalou

"I am delighted to stay here for the next three years so I can improve my game and play more games," said Kalou. "I heard a lot, there was some interest in me, but I think I made the best choice of signing a new contract here at the Bridge.

"Hopefully I can get more chances from the manager and play more to improve my game. I am happy with my week, we qualified for the World Cup and I sign a new contract with Chelsea, it is an excellent week for me."

Meanwhile Portugal midfielder Deco is hoping he can rekindle his early season form after returning to the Chelsea side against Liverpool. Deco, given a new lease of life under new coach Carlo Ancelotti, was in fine form until a calf injury left him struggling on the sidelines.

However, the Chelsea playmaker is hoping that his return to action will help him rediscover his early season success when he was played behind the main striker in Ancelotti's 'christmas tree' and 'diamond' formations. "I was happy and I hope to start again now playing how I was earlier this season," said Deco.

"I like the system we are playing - it is different to last season but I have played it before. I have played lots of different systems in the past and in the national team. I play this position between midfield and the strikers. I am comfortable to change some points but I always play in midfielder so there are only some differences."