World Football

Liverpool Transfer News: Ashley Cole Would Inhibit Jon Flanagan's Development

Chelsea's Ashley Cole, left reacts as Liverpool's Steven Gerrard takes the ball away after a tackle during the English FA Cup Final soccer match at Wembley Stadium in London, Saturday, May 5, 2012. (AP Photo/Tim Hales)
Tim Hales/Associated Press
Rob BlanchetteFeatured ColumnistMarch 28, 2014

Brendan Rodgers intends on signing England international Ashley Cole from league leaders Chelsea this summer, according to reports on Friday.

David Woods of the Daily Star writes that the Liverpool coach is a huge admirer of Cole after working with him at Chelsea and wants to take the player to Anfield. 

Cole, now 33 years of age, will be available in the summer on a free transfer. The veteran would add vital experience to the Reds' defence and add competition to current first choice Jon Flanagan.

The Liverpudlian has taken his chance this season and forced his way into Rodgers' immediate plans, producing a string of impressive displays at left-back.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - MARCH 16:  Jon Flanagan of Liverpool competes with Juan Mata of Manchester United during the Barclays Premier League match between Manchester United and Liverpool at Old Trafford on March 16, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by A
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

As a result, the Anfield boss is set to offer the 21-year-old prospect a new deal at the club, as reported by Andy Hunter of The Guardian

Hunter quotes Rodgers saying:

Jon will be given a new contract. Come the summer he's got another year so he will definitely be given a new deal in the summer, no question. He has been outstanding. He reminded me of Steve Nicol against Manchester United.

Indeed, Flanagan's performances have caught the eye. He was recently named in WhoScored.com's European team of the week alongside such world-class stars as Lionel Messi and Andres Iniesta

The official Liverpool account for Australia and New Zealand tweeted:

Liverpool fans have dubbed Flanagan "the Scouse Cafu" and he recently spoke regarding the nickname and about playing regularly for his club side.

Youtube channel LFC World posted:

The Brazilian legend himself took to Twitter to comment on Flanagan's comparison to himself, and promised to keep an eye on the young full-back.

He tweeted in response to a question about the player:

twitter.com/officialcafu

It is clear to see why Rodgers would want an experienced head like that of Cole. However, it is questionable whether he is specifically the correct player needed for the Liverpool back four at this moment in time. 

Cole has won every domestic and European honour in the game and would give the Merseyside club a winner's mentality that maybe they still need among their defenders.

But this purchase could also stunt the growth of Flanagan after what has been a breakthrough season for the youngster.

MUNICH, GERMANY - MAY 19:  Ashley Cole of Chelsea celebrates with the trophy after their victory in the UEFA Champions League Final between FC Bayern Muenchen and Chelsea at the Fussball Arena München on May 19, 2012 in Munich, Germany.  (Photo by Mike He
Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

Cole would not be brought in to sit on the bench, and the move would likely see Flanagan slip down the order and ruin his form.

It is arguable that Flanagan will leapfrog Cole in the international standings soon, and force his way into Roy Hodgson's England squad after this summer's World Cup in Brazil. 

Flanagan needs games, and Rodgers needs to stick with the young player to develop him further.

Cole will be an excellent free transfer for many clubs in the Premier League and in Europe, but Liverpool would be the wrong destination for the player, in terms of who Rodgers needs to buy.

 

The manager does need to bring in defensive talent, but he should focus on targets who will give him a much longer-term option, rather than a stop-gap signing. 

If Liverpool want to dine once again at the top table of world football, they should stick with the youth they have developed, and add to that only with world-class signings. 

Cole simply does not fall into this category anymore. 

 

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