This morning Liverpool FC made sure that it was a great start to the week for both the club and its fans when they announced “Liverpool FC are delighted to confirm the signing of Joe Cole on a four-year deal”, subject to a medical which the player is expected to complete in the next 48hours after arriving at the squads Swiss training camp in Bad Ragaz.
The England international creative midfielder became a free agent at the start of the July after electing not to continue his 7 year career at Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge. The players position at Chelsea has been known for sometime and created weeks of debate as to who his next club would be but it was Liverpool that secured his services.
Attracting the likes of Spurs, Arsenal, Man Utd, AC Milan and Valencia amongst others in many quarters it was thought to be unlikely that Cole would leave his London roots or move away from playing Champions League football, with former mentor Harry Redknapp widely expected to bring home the prodigical son.
Only at the weekend new manager Roy Hodgson calmly said he had only briefly spoken to Joe and pointed any questions in the direction of MD Christian Purslow regarding transfers but Internet talk yesterday indicated a trip for Cole to Switzerland was imminent for a medical, raising the hopes of Reds fan across the globe and creating a flurry of excitement. Several bookies had already stopped taking money on LFC’s arrival and their insight proved to be correct as people starting their working day to the news that Joe Cole was now indeed a Red.
Praise has been arriving from all areas on LFC’s capture as well as for the player himself who already holds 3 League Titles and 2 FA Cup successes amongst his silverware and with his own comments at the end of June that he was looking for a club where he could play more centrally, regular and feel loved by the manager, his decision shows that he feels that it is Anfield that can bring him this.
Linking up with a forward line that already holds Torres, Gerrard & Kuyt it certainly starts opening up options going forward for the coming season, complimented with Maxi and Babel, a positive outlook is creeping up on the horizon after a number of weeks in darkness when fans started to wonder when someone was going to turn the light on again. Cole has the ability and potential to become an instant Kop hit and for a player of Joe’s nature that confidence boost will not only deliver results but also personal satisfaction that his heart and head made the right decision.
The ink was still drying on Joe Cole’s contract when many a thought turned to how this would effect the position of Steven Gerrard, no longer his position at the club but his position on the pitch. Optimism brings with it that this is a sign of intent from the club to regain their stature despite their financial situation, a very public reassurance to their existing star interests and one that may also cause the odd fan or two to ponder a “well played” in the direction of the much maligned Christian Purslow, maybe just for a second anyway. Would Cole be the player that allowed Gerrard to have more movement across the pitch, or even the ability to control games from midfield? Either way it is not the worst decision for Hodgson to have to find an answer for, he is probably grateful for it.
The Liverpool captain’s future is still not crystal clear, even with Hodgson’s comments that he has told Gerrard they will not sell him but too many it may well be plausible that their talisman has been kept up to date to a degree with the Cole arrival, keeping him close to the conversation and in turn reconfirming to him his meaning to Liverpool football club. It is also fair to say on Cole’s behalf that aside from receiving a healthy wage, the likes of Gerrard and Torres were bound to be atraction points from a playing perspective.
It is very early days in the new era but Hodgson is very slowly starting to provide a calming and collected presence around the club and with it belief that the club is indeed looking at the right players, not afraid to purchase English talent and nail down those that it is really interested in and relatively quickly. Liverpool are not at a sprint yet, far from it, this will only be proven with future purchases but it is a step in the right direction for a club that has had two left feet for longer than people wish to remember and just perhaps it is starting to walk again.