Why Liverpool must avoid £9m swoop at all costs

Considering the unreliability of Sky Sports reporting, there is good chance that this report isn’t true, but it is being said that Liverpool are set to renew their interest in West Ham’s Carlton Cole in the January transfer window. One of the reasons the report does have some credibility is that Roy Hodgson has admitted that the Reds were interested in signing the player in the summer. Sky now believes however that West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold are willing to sell the striker in January for between £7m and £9million.

In my humble opinion, I cannot see how Carlton Cole is worth anywhere near that amount. The most he has ever scored in a season was 12 goals, a figure he got to by playing 32 times during the 2008/09 season for West Ham. During his much praised rich vein of form last campaign, he scored 10 goals in 36 matches, hardly the strike rate that opposition defenders are terrified of. Of course, Cole does have his good attributes. He is exceptionally strong and is a powerful presence in the air but is this enough to warrant £9million?

If we look at Liverpool striker David Ngog, you will see that he could very easily develop into the style of player that Cole is. Although not as strong as Cole in regards to upper body strength or as powerful in the air, he has developed this season to have a better first touch and has managed to score eight goals in all competitions as opposed to Cole’s five. The big worry for me with Cole is that he is just too inconsistent. He goes through lean periods where he doesn’t contribute enough to the game and doesn’t contribute the goals required of him. He started this season very poorly and is only beginning to gain a semblance of his true form. There are too many similarities with Emile Heskey not be worried. Although everyone at Anfield admired Emile’s effort and aerial ability, by the end of his time on Merseyside he was just not scoring enough goals.

This is the fundamental problem with this signing. If our ambitions are above mid-table mediocrity, we need players who do more than “do a job” for the team like Cole. To take the goal-scoring load of Torres, Reds fans would like another striker who not only compliments the Spanish striker’s play, but can also fire in 20+ goals a season. That is the only way Liverpool will find themselves back in the top four in the future. Among Reds fans, names such as Aguero, Dzeko and Llorente have been mentioned, but all we get is Carlton Cole.

Certainly Reds fans have to be realistic about who we can get while we sit 12th in the table, but if we spend £9m on a player who won’t make a “big difference” to the quality of the team, then it is just not worth it. Roy himself said he is looking for players who are either young or can give the team a big step up in quality then Cole ticks neither box so why should he be considered at all? We have spent too much money in the last two decades on players who have just not been good enough. Souness, Evans, Houllier and Benitez can all be blamed for some bad signings, and it is now Roy who has also gone down the same route. I am hoping Damien Comolli and others at the club will begin to reverse this trend or otherwise the dream of a 19th Championship will continue to be a forlorn hope.

Read more Liverpool blogs at the excellent Live4Liverpool

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