For a player who as a 16 year old made Sir Alex Ferguson sit up and take notice, and be an admirer from that day, the fact that Joe Cole has only made 8 appearances for his current club, Liverpool last season begs the question, what happened to the youngster that promised to set football alight? And is it possible for him to re capture his form?
After a somewhat underwhelming season for Cole, Kenny Dalglish is looking to offload, with plans for a new and fresh Liverpool, emphasising the roles players such as Andy Carroll and Luis Suarez will have – it is the dawn of a new age at Anfield, and Cole, along with his £90,000 drain per week on the wage bill is one of the first to be heading into the sunset.
Clubs rumoured to be interested in Cole are the newly found rich boys PSG, yet they are far more concerned with hiring their top target of the summer, Bulgarian striker Dimitar Berbatov, West Ham – who the boy once did so well for, yet are playing their trade in the Championship for the foreseeable future at least –, new boys QPR in a possible swap deal for Terrabat, and Spurs, with Harry Redknapp a long term admirer. Perhaps Cole and his advisors would have expected a longer list of potential suitors. Yet the way his form and fitness have been for more than a small amount of time now he cannot expect miracles and may have to settle for a smaller wage packet at a club with less history and potential for success in order to regain first team football and a much needed injection of confidence.
For a player who had one of his best seasons as skipper during West Ham’s doomed 40 – point relegation season, and who then secured a big money move to Chelsea, the shell of a player now is almost unrecognisable. At Chelsea, after struggling to break into the first team under Ranieri, Mourinho took the player under his wing, and taught Cole to be a more complete player, once referring to Cole as ‘having two faces, one of which he liked’ after the boy scored a goal against current club Liverpool, ironically enough. Under the Mourinho regime, Cole matured as a player and began to work himself into the first team, becoming an integral part of the team and being one of a small number of players to emerge from the 2006 World Cup with credit – enhancing his reputation to boot.
After the ‘mutual consent’ departure of Mourinho, and the subsequent revolving door policy of Chelsea’s managerial post, Cole struggled to find a way into the team, which coupled with injury and the uncertainty at the club, had a disastrous effect on Cole’s chances of playing first team football on a regular basis. Cole subsequently failed to agree a new contract with Chelsea, and a free transfer to Liverpool followed, yet this has failed to reignite his career as planned. A difficult time with injury and trouble settling with a new baby caused sleepless nights and constant fatigue meant Cole could not reach the potential he so desperately wanted to.
With the player willing to fight for a first team place at Liverpool, yet not adverse to a move elsewhere where first team football is on the cards – back home to London is his preferred destination – the question of how long Cole will stay at Liverpool remains. Of course, if the club decides to sell the player, there is little Cole could do about this, however for a player who is known for being one of the nicest and most hard working in the game, whatever the situation, it is clear that Cole will put on his shin pads and get on with it, and try to live up to the comments that once followed the mention of his name.
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