July 19, 2010 Leave a comment
Rumour has it that Joe Cole is very close to signing a deal at Liverpool. Apparently, Liverpool are ready to offer Cole £90000 a week, which will amount to 4.7 million a year. He’s a great player for free, don’t get me wrong, but for someone with his injury record, he’d be a big gamble, especially with the amount of wages he’s demanding at this point. Unfortunately for Hodgson, however, it seems he will have to pick all his players in the bargain basement.
For starters, we’ll have to look at where Cole plays. He’s played on the wings for a large part of his career, but seeing as we have 4 wingers/outside forwards who lack pace in Riera, Jovanovic, Kuyt and Maxi, his impact on the wings won’t bring anything new to our game. If he plays in the hole, that’ll mean sticking to a 4-5-1 system (whether it’s a 433, 4231, or 4141). In this situation, it’ll be best to play him as one of the two players behind the striker, usually Torres, in a 4-1-4-1, alongside Aquilani or Gerrard, with a defensive midfielder behind. Now this could work very well if one of these three is conveniently injured at some point, but otherwise, you’d either be resting a 25 million player, a 90000-a-week player, or Steven Gerrard, or playing them where they wouldn’t be as effective. And that money could be used to strengthen the left back, or defensive midfield position. I’m not opposed to a squad player for Gerrard and Aquilani, but you’d much rather have a younger player capable of playing multiple positions and happy to sit on the bench, and Cole is neither.
If we were to play a 4-4-2 with Cole, it’d mean he’ll either be played on the wings, or with a more defensive midfielder (not an out and out holding one, mind), and Gerrard and Aquilani are not exactly that.
In addition, knee injuries have meant that while Cole may retain his touch and trickery, his pace will have left him. Add to that the fact that Cole’s fitness record is not the best, and you have another Aquilani (if the esteemed Pete Brukner is to be believed, only Aquilani of the first season) situation. He has started 82 league games in the last four seasons, not exactly the best track record, especially for a team that doesn’t have the financial resources of their rivals.
For these reasons, I believe Cole is not the right fit for Liverpool, despite his fantastic technical ability and experience.