EPL Transfer News: Unwanted Carlton Cole Being Tracked by Norwich & Reading

Joe Tansey@JTansey90Featured ColumnistJanuary 14, 2013

LONDON, ENGLAND - DECEMBER 09:  Carlton Cole of West Ham United shows his frustration during the Barclays Premier League match between West Ham United and Liverpool at the Boleyn Ground on December 9, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Scott Heavey/Getty Images)
Scott Heavey/Getty Images

West Ham United have been busy bringing in attacking players during the first 14 days of the transfer window.

The Hammers have already brought in forwards Marouane Chamakh and Wellington Paulista on loan from Arsenal and Cruziero respectively (via BBC Sport).

With the addition of the two forwards, EPL veteran Carlton Cole has been left on the outside looking in. Over the weekend, West Ham reportedly told Cole that he should find another club (via Mirror Football).

Luckily for Cole, he is wanted by two EPL clubs not named West Ham at the moment.

The Daily Mail claimed on Saturday that Norwich City and Reading will be fighting for the signature of the 29-year-old forward. Both clubs have scored just over a goal per match this season and are looking for reinforcements at the forward position in January.

Norwich City does not have a player in their squad that has scored more than four goals.

Currently, Robert Snodgrass, Grant Holt and Anthony Pilkington are tied for the club scoring lead with four goals. Holt was a revelation at Carrow Road last season with 15 goals in the club's first season in the EPL. However, Holt has not been able to find the same goal-scoring form this season and manager Chris Hughton is looking elsewhere to help solve his club's scoring problems.

Cole would fit into Hughton's regular 4-4-1-1 formation as the lone forward with Wesley Hoolahan being the player that would sit behind Cole in the starting 11.

At Reading, manager Brian McDermott is looking for someone to add to his depth chart at the forward position and for a player who is used to the relegation battle.

Cole was relegated with West Ham after the 2010-11 season, and he is also a proven goal scorer. The 29-year-old has scored over 10 goals in three of his past four seasons, but the one red flag that McDermott may have is how poorly Cole performed during West Ham's relegation season.

Cole scored just five goals in the EPL during the 2010-11 season and was barely a factor in the Hammers' relegation fight.

If McDermott is willing to look past Cole's performance two years ago, he could bring the Englishman into the club to compete with Adam Le Fondre and Pavel Pogrebnyak at the forward position.

The Royals employ two forwards in their lineup on a consistent basis, which would leave Cole competing with Le Fondre, Pogrebnyak and Noel Hunt for the two starting positions in McDermott's 4-4-2.

For Cole, joining Norwich may make the most sense because they need him the most.

If he joins Norwich, he would most likely become the featured forward in Hughton's starting 11, while at Reading he is not guaranteed a starting position on a weekly basis.

The worst-case scenario for Cole would be to stay at Upton Park for the duration of the season, as it looks like he will not receive any playing time with the two new signings and Andy Carroll, who is about to return from injury, in front of him on the depth chart.


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