Cole went on to win multiple honours with Chelsea, including four league titles and the Champions League in 2012. Dein says he regrets not offering more money at the time and has apologised to Cole.
He added: “It was a great shame because Ashley was homegrown, he was an Arsenal boy, and I regret we didn’t do enough at the time to keep him at the club. It was also at the time of building the stadium and financing, the tensions were raging about how we were going to finance the new stadium and we were watching every penny.
“Consequently we didn’t do enough to keep him and I regret that with hindsight. So Ashley, if you’re listening, I’m sorry.”
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