Joe Cole: Why Did He Ever Sign for Liverpool?
In choosing The Sun to air his sentiments and disappointments, Joe Cole wrapped his parting shot in barbs and dipped it in acid.
With seemingly so little regard for Liverpool, why did Joe Cole choose a club he believed to be in its decline in the face of interest from Tottenham Hotspur, a club closer to home on the the rise, playing in the Champions League and managed by a man he was already familiar with in Harry Redknapp?
Despite “a fantastic offer”, Spurs and Redknapp lost out on Cole's signature who felt he needed to leave London stating that playing for Spurs “felt a bit mercenary” despite admitting it was being a better option.
Loyalty is a laudable sentiment in the modern game and one that is in relative short supply. It was also notably absent in his decision to move to Stamford Bridge and cross-town rivals Chelsea in 2003.
Ex-Liverpool player Jamie Redknapp defended Cole’s switch as not being motivated by greed, rather that he was “just looking for the right club.” But in saying that it wasn't about the money, Redknapp was quick to point out that free agent Cole had worked “that situation nicely.”
Once described as Messi’s equal by Steven Gerrard, the Bosman transfer Cole proved more a dose of laughing gas than sarin gas during his time at Liverpool, with performances that were often subject to conjecture. And sometimes ridicule.
At the French club he seemed to drum up his missing “passion” and, with Liverpool still paying a reported two thirds of his wages, his nine goals and two assists were reminiscent of his 2007/08 season at Chelsea and perhaps the sign of waxing confidence.
Happy and welcomed at Lille, unfettered by bothersome domestic fealties, Cole intimated that he would like to stay, positing that “the financial issue is important, but money is not the priority for me. I enjoy being on the pitch and that's the main thing.“
Yet seemingly in contrast to Cole's assertion, Lille coach Rudi Garcia, interested in continuing Cole’s services with the Mastiffs, stipulated “financially it was not possible to keep him.”
While almost ensured weekly football at Lille if the price was right, Cole would have to earn his spot at a Liverpool under new management while drawing his guaranteed his pay packet. It was something he failed to do.
It proved another spluttering 10-game stint at Liverpool during which Brendan Rodgers bluntly questioned why a talented and well-compensated Joe Cole failed to impress when given the opportunity.
The move to West Ham United was hot on the heels of Rodgers’ criticism where Cole almost instantaneously rediscovered his form. Posting two assists in his first game as a Hammer in a 2-2 tie in an FA Cup match against Manchester United, his one-game tally was only one less than his combined total at Liverpool in the 2012/13 season.
Back at his boyhood club after taking a hefty pay cut and enjoying the impassioned football he felt was lacking at Liverpool, Joe Cole will finally be able to reflect on his playing-trumps-money philosophy or, at the very least, count the £3 million it took for him to be able to do so.
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