• Arsenal and Tottenham favourites to sign free agent
• Sources at Old Trafford confirm Cole is not a target
Manchester United have left the path clear for Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to attempt to sign Joe Cole after it was confirmed they are not interested in the England international.
Spokesman: "Joe Cole not a target. We won't be signing him."
Cole, released by Chelsea after failing to agree terms over a new contract, has repeatedly been linked with a free signing to United, but well-placed sources at Old Trafford have indicated there has never been any interest in the midfielder.
Sir Alex Ferguson, the United manager, has spoken on numerous occasions about his admiration for Cole, but the 28-year-old has had a season disrupted by injury and his wage demands would be prohibitive for United.
The feeling at Old Trafford is that a lot of the speculation surrounding United's reported interest has been generated by people close to Cole in the hope of accelerating interest from other clubs.
Cole's future now looks like a straight choice between Arsenal and Tottenham, the north London rivals having both initiated talks with the player's representatives.
United generally don't comment on speculation but I asume were forced to due the popular rumours flying around today, Cole had signed for us on a 3 year deal so therefore this should end all this talk. So basically its Spurs or Arsenal.