Arsene Wenger on Ashely Cole

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Arsene Wenger has confirmed he has given the green-light for Ashley Cole to receive the wage increase he is looking for.

Talks over a new deal have stalled after the Gunners board reportedly lowered their initial offer at the last minute.

This led to Cole meeting with rivals Chelsea as he explored his options, while a clutch of foreign clubs are also known to be keen.

The Football Association have since charged the defender and Chelsea, and many thought Cole's position at Highbury had become almost untenable.

However, Wenger has insisted he wants Cole to stay and become one of the highest paid players at the club.

"We want Ashley to be in the top bracket of international players at the club," insisted Wenger.

"We have our own wage scale and if I want to extend his contract, it is because I felt he had to be there in that bracket.

"I am convinced Ashley will stay and I will do everything to keep him.

"The next step for him is to extend his contract at the right salary.

"But I want to keep him, the board wants to keep him. I am convinced Ashley wants to stay. That's my belief."

Arsenal are ready to rekindle talks with Cole once the Premier League have finished the investigation into the 'tapping-up' affair.

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