When former England international Joe Cole left Chelsea last summer after seven years it was seen as a surprising move but definitely not the end for a player blessed with fantastic skill and technique. Liverpool promptly snapped him up on a four-year deal but now only a year later, Cole is on the outside at Anfield as he looks set to try and resurrect his career at a new club.
Cole’s enjoyed many successful years at Stamford Bridge, winning three Premier League titles and two FA Cups. His time in London came to an end after injury problems and being restricted to substitute appearances in his final season. Liverpool’s capture of Cole on a free transfer was seen as a coup for the Reds with many other clubs linked with the player and it was a chance for Cole to continue to make an impact in the Premier League.
But under Roy Hodgson and then Kenny Dalglish Cole has been on the periphery at Liverpool, limited to substitute appearances as a lack of form and injuries hampered his first season at Anfield. He recorded a reasonable 32 appearances last season but during that time he only made nine league starts, scoring a total of three goals. Despite experiencing a torrid time on Merseyside, 29-year-old Cole is surely still a possible bargain yet to be considered properly this summer.
Despite figuring in the club’s pre-season and assistant manager Steve Clarke’s comments that he has a contribution to make, the significant investment in Liverpool’s midfield this summer means that Cole’s chances to make an impact in his second season with the club look limited. Premier League new boys QPR have been linked with a loan move for Cole whilst Tottenham and PSG have also reportedly shown an interest in the player. But why hasn’t anyone taken a chance on a potential bargain of the summer?
The problem for Cole is that we said the same about him last summer. After his release from Chelsea Cole was a real bargain, a player with bags of experience who seemingly just needed a new challenge. He got that opportunity with Liverpool but looked horribly off the pace when he did feature for the Reds. Teams like Tottenham or QPR would again be taking a risk on Cole and unfortunately this one poor season on Merseyside may have left a lasting impression on potential suitors as a warning that Cole is not the player he once was for Chelsea and England.
However a season-long loan deal to Loftus Road would present Cole with the opportunity of regular first-team football and as Liverpool signed Cole for a free, his loss without gaining a fee would not be a big blow for a club desperate to cut out the deadwood in their squad. Although a move to Tottenham would see him reunite with former boss Harry Redknapp, Cole would not be guaranteed first-team football at Spurs with their wealth of midfield talent and he desperately needs a run of games to try and regain some form. Moving abroad to a team like PSG would also allow Cole to make a fresh start away from the glare of English football.
Whilst his move to Liverpool has turned into a bit of a nightmare for Cole, he still has plenty to offer the Premier League if given the chance. His one season at Anfield may have had a lasting effect but all could be forgotten if the old Joe Cole can regain the sort of form that made him one of the most skillful and talented English players to grace the Premier League in the last decade.
Do you think clubs should take a chance on Cole? If you want to read more of my bite size, 140 character views and thoughts follow me on Twitter @jennyk5