Aston Villa have insisted that Carlton Cole will play for them this season despite claims by Charlton that he may return to them.
Chelsea striker Cole spent last season on loan at The Valley but Villa announced on Monday that they had signed him in another season-long loan deal.
Charlton chief executive Peter Varney has claimed that Villa’s announcement, which was backed up by Chelsea, was “premature” but the midlands club are adamant the player is theirs.
A Villa spokesman told the club’s official website, www.avfc.co.uk: “We’ve had no contact from Charlton and we are not expecting to hear from them.
“We’ve agreed a deal with Chelsea to bring Carlton Cole to Villa next season and he has signed. As far as we’re concerned, that’s that.”
Charlton were known to be keen on re-signing the player for a second season and Varney suggested that a deal could still be done in spite of Villa’s claims.
Varney told the club’s official website, www.cafc.co.uk: “I am aware that our supporters are expecting to see Carlton Cole to return to the club on loan for 2004/5.
“The announcement by Aston Villa and Chelsea that they have agreed a year’s loan is premature and I do not wish to make any further comments at this time.”
The player himself appears committed to the Villa cause.
He told the club’s official website: “It wasn’t a convincing season for me. I was kind of rushed on loan and I never really did get settled in at Charlton. But now I’m just looking towards this year to progress.
“I’m still as hungry as ever and I feel sharper than I did at the start of last season, because I wasn’t 100% fit. I’ve been working over the summer and I’ve come into Villa this week feeling sharp and ready to prove myself.”