Ashley Cole
Ashley Cole Reuters

Barcelona are considering a move to sign Chelsea left-back Ashley Cole as they seek defensive reinforcement ahead of next season, according to reports.

The former England international - who retired from international football after it was confirmed by Roy Hodgson that he would not be included in the World Cup squad - lost his place at Stamford Bridge last season as Blues boss Jose Mourinho opted to play Cesar Azpilicueta instead, even though the Spaniard usually plays on the opposite flank.

The 33-year-old is free to negotiate a move to another club as Chelsea decided not to renew his contract – after his eight-year stay at Stamford Bridge.

According to the Daily Mail, Barca are considering a move to sign Cole as they are looking to strengthen the defence following the departure of veteran captain Carles Puyol. Even though they already have two left-backs in Jordi Alba and Adriano, the latter is considered dispensable.

The Catalans recently suffered a blow in their pursuit of Paris Saint-Germain defender Marquinhos after French coach Laurent Blanc ruled out the possibility of the Brazilian's departure from the Parc des Princes this summer.

The fact that Cole would be available without a transfer fee is viewed as an attractive option at the Camp Nou. However, he is already 33 and has no experience in the Spanish league.

The defender was recently linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu with reports suggesting that Real Madrid were ready to give him a two-year deal worth £3.5m per-season. However, the speculation has abated with reports that Fabio Coentrao is set to sign a contract extension until June 2019.