Roberto Di Matteo has attempted to dampen mounting speculation surrounding two of Chelsea's old guard, stating that he wants Ashley Cole to stay at the club and describing stories linking John Terry to Valencia as "nonsense".
• Delaney: Blues much to prove
• Cole won't rule out United move
• Blog: Cole being forced out?
• Preview: Chelsea v Man Utd
As it stands, Cole will be available to discuss terms with other clubs in January, due to the fact his current contract will run out at the end of the season.
A sticking point is understood to be the length of any extension. Because Cole is over 30 - 31 to be precise - Chelsea are believed to only want to offer him a one-year deal, with the full-back naturally wanting more.
"I think there are ongoing negotiations with the club," Di Matteo said. "It's something he discusses directly with the club. I would like him to stay here, yes. It's something they have to sort out, two parties: player and club. But my wish is for him to stay here."
As regards the merits of any club policy to only offer players over 30 years of age one-year contracts, Di Matteo was unsurprisingly evasive.
"Each player is different. He's a fit boy. He plays every game, he still has many years in front of him. Again, it's something you would have to ask Ashley himself or the club.
"For me, he's one of the best left-backs in the world and an asset for this club. He's very good offensively, defensively, provides a lot of attacking options. His positional awareness is very good. He's got experience technically. He's got stamina, he's got everything."
As for the surprising stories during the week that Terry was unsettled and may be on his way to Valencia, Di Matteo was completely dismissive.
"There's nothing to that. I don't know who put that speculation, those rumours about. It's nonsense. It doesn't need to be discussed because it's completely untrue," Di Matteo said. "He's got this season and another season [on his contract]. It's premature [to talk about his exit].
"I think, last season, you emphasised a lot about the old guard and they all proved you wrong. Nobody knows what the future will hold but, at the moment, they're here, they're our players and what's important is how they perform."
When questioned whether Chelsea had made a bid for Robin van Persie in the summer, Di Matteo merely responded "no comment".
He did, however, intimate that the club may recall Romelu Lukaku in January, given his form for West Brom and the fact Chelsea only have two central strikers in Fernando Torres and Daniel Sturridge.
"There's an option in January for us. It's a one-year loan but we have a clause. He's had a good impact."