Arsene is extracting his punishment. He is benching Cole for the opener against Aston Villa but Cole said he is ready for some humble pie. I think Arsene is really going to rub Cole's nose in the mud and see if he can hack it. If Jose Mourinho is balking at Arsenal's price then the reason is that Wenger does not want Chelsea to have Cole. After all, Chelsea was quite sneaky on the Cole deal with the 'tapping' business and then Cole's vitriol was directed towards Wenger. Cole has poisoned the atmosphere permanently.
I think Arsenal will settle for less and sell of Cole to another club. Naturally they want to get as much for him and apart from Chelsea, there is no other English club that can afford (22 - 25 mil) him. It will be the Serie and most likely Inter, that has the kind of cash for Cole.
As for Cole, even his good friend Thierry Henry has stopped pleading for him to continue playing at Arsenal and Jens Lehmann has said that the club can cope without him. All this starts of rumours that Curtis Davies will be a frantic last day signing for Arsenal from the Baggies. If that happens then Wenger does not have to tinker with the left back position.