One of the most sought after free agents this summer, Joe Cole has yet to make his mind up over which club to sign for. Cole has said that he wants to play for a manager who loves him as well as find somewhere where he will get regular playing time, preferably in the centre of midfield and somewhere that will pay his wage demands. They are certainly a lot of requests to fulfil and it’s going to be difficult for Cole to find a club that can guarantee all of those requirements, certainly in England. However a foreign club may be able to meet his demands better and perhaps a move abroad could see Cole really thrive in another league.
The battle for his signature in England appears to have come down to three teams, Liverpool, Arsenal and Tottenham with several pros and cons to joining each of them. Liverpool are a big club but it’s unknown just how competitive they are going to be next season, Arsenal are also a big club but Cole probably won’t have guaranteed first team football. Finally Spurs probably could guarantee first team football but almost certainly won’t be challenging for the Premiership. The clubs themselves will also be taking a risk on Cole as he has endured some very injury prone years at Chelsea, his wage demands are said to be at least £80,000 a week and he is 28-years-old. It could take some lengthy negociations before Cole is able to sign a deal that suits both parties.
Joe Cole could also have some options and possibly better ones in other leagues, his best bet would probably be Italy as in Spain, it’s doubtful that the big two of Barcelona or Real Madrid would make a move for him. Although as Jose Mourinho knows him very well from their time together at Chelsea it wouldn’t be unthinkable that he could offer him a surprise deal. However were that to be the case, there is no way he would be a regular at Madrid with the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaka in the team. Valencia are believed to be interested in Cole’s services but their financial struggles pretty much rule them out of the picture, if he was looking for an ambitious project then Sevilla could be an option. They have Champions League football next season and were previously league contenders not so long ago, however they probably aren’t a big enough club for him.
This leaves Italy and AC Milan are believed to be Cole’s biggest suitors, they have apparently already offered him a deal but it is said be worth just £60,000 a week. On the other hand they have guaranteed him a starting role in his favoured central midfield position. Inter Milan haven’t been linked with a move for Cole but new manager Rafa Benitez will know all about his time at Chelsea, so it wouldn’t be surprising to see them make him an offer. Juventus need another wide player in their midfield and Cole would be a fantastic signing for them, personally as a Juve fan I would love to see Cole pull on the black and white shirt but I just don’t see it happening.
Although there are potential moves abroad lined up for Cole, I believe that he will stay in England as I don’t think he has the bottle to try his luck abroad. However very few players do today, and when you look at what has happened to the likes of Michael Owen and Jermaine Pennant it would be hard to blame Cole for not moving abroad. It would be a shame though as his game would suit a foreign league very well, both La Liga and Serie A aren’t as physical as the Premiership so he would have less chance of picking up another injury. La Liga is a fast paced league and Cole as a quick player would have no problem adapting; Serie A whilst some people call it ‘slow’ is a very technical league and as he is a very skilful and technical player those attributes would serve him well in Italy.
Whether Joe Cole will stay in England or moves abroad remains to be seen, but it would be nice to see an English player succeed abroad, especially as Cole is probably one of the very few who could make it.
Which club do you think would be best for Joe Cole?