The possibility that Joe Cole could leave Stamford Bridge in the summer for free has alerted several Premiership clubs. Cole’s contract expires at the end of the season, meaning he could open up talks with other clubs if he wanted to. For a player who still wants to be a regular starter for England, and no doubt play Champions League football, a move to a top four club would be viable for a class performer.
After a nine month absence due to a knee injury, Carlo Ancelotti has not started Cole as much as the former West Ham man would have hoped for. The fact that Chelsea has allowed the contract situation to reach this stage means that he may not be in a strong position to be able to dictate his request. This is of a supposed 50% rise on his current wages. Cole may have never hinted that he wants to leave Chelsea, but with someone like Deco who is more than adequate at performing Cole’s role, and the fact that Ancelotti substitutes him a lot when he does start, could tempt Cole to move on.
He has always been known as a playmaker, a style of player that seems to be a dying breed amongst the great players in the Premiership, so he is unique in what he can bring to a team’s tactics. For the sake of his ambitions, the top four is where he will want to remain other than a move to Europe. The club that was linked with Cole two summers ago was Liverpool, and they seem a realistic target now because he can fulfill the playmaker’s role that is missing at Anfield. Interestingly during the summer of 2008 Rafa Benitez was speaking about a player, presumably Cole, and said: “Maybe he can play in three different positions – that is a positive thing. I am talking about one player, but I won’t say the name.” He mentioned the player was English, and Cole’s ability to play in several midfield roles may have put him at the forefront of Benitez’s thinking- and still might do.
Signing Cole would be the key to the missing piece of the jigsaw at Liverpool. His ability to play behind the striker gives Steven Gerrard the chance to move back in to central midfield, and Cole and Fernando Torres at the top end of the pitch should excite the supporters. In addition to that, the England international’s versatility means he can provide the width that seems to be a much talked about topic with Liverpool’s team. What bodes well for Liverpool, should Cole move there, is that he is English and has played in the Premiership during the whole of his career so there will not be any need for him to get used to the pace of the game- something labeled at a lot of foreign players. Cole is wise enough to know that it is form over reputation and that a move to Liverpool would see a player different to anyone the current team has to offer. His skills and bag of tricks is well backed up by his ability to assist the strikers.
One stumbling block in Liverpool buying Cole would be the wage demands of the player and Chelsea being prepared to sell their player to Liverpool- someone who they have built a fierce rivalry with ever since Benitez has been in charge. One thing is for sure should the move happen, Cole would fit in to the traditions of Liverpool and take his place amongst the skilful players the club has had over the years, but is currently lacking.