With 107 England caps to his name, Ashely Cole is still a talented, high-class performer. But at 33 years old and with wage demands as exorbitant as ever, he is not an ideal candidate for a young, vibrant and upwardly mobile team like Liverpool.
The Reds have been linked with a move for the England defender, per James Dickenson of The Express, but why they are considering this route is difficult to work out.
The side-lining of Cole at Chelsea this season has been one of the biggest surprises of Jose Mourinho’s second coming. Whilst trusted lieutenants from his first spell John Terry and Frank Lampard have been restored to their place in the first team, Cole has been shunned.
The left-back was a lynchpin in the successful team of Mourinho the first time around, but he has lacked something in this spell and, as a result, has started just 14 Premier League games this campaign. Liverpool fans will be asking: If he is no longer good enough for the Chelsea team, is he good enough for ours?
Cole would also not come cheap. According to Neil Ashton and Charles Sale of the Daily Mail, the left-back became the highest-paid defender on the planet last year when he signed a contract earning him just under £200,000 a week. That contract comes to an end this summer, and he would be deluded to think he can earn that elsewhere, but Liverpool will not want to go anywhere near that figure for a man who turns 34 this year.
Per Ian McCourt of The Guardian, Chelsea were none too keen to continue their expensive partnership with Cole:
The left-back's contract with Chelsea comes to a close at the end of this season and despite the Chelsea chiefs telling him where to stick it when he came to them, Givenchy cap in hand, asking for one year more, Brendan reckons that he still has the necessaries to solve every single one of his side's defensive worries.
Judging by his wage demands in the past, when he ditched Arsenal for the Blues, Cole may be willing to accept a cut but not a significant one. With other mega-rich clubs like Monaco and Real Madrid interested in his signature, per Alan Nixon of the Mirror, he will still be able to command a hefty salary, especially as there is no transfer fee involved.
As Liverpool plan for their first Champions League campaign since 2009/10, they will be looking to make a number of additions to their squad. It seems unwise to spend a large proportion of their wage budget on an ageing left-back who appears to be well past his best. Now that they have regained their place at Europe’s top table, it should be some of the sport’s brightest young talents that they are looking to attract.
Would Ashley Cole be a good signing for Liverpool?
Young talent is what Brendan Rodgers is usually interested in. Under his tutelage at Liverpool, the likes of Raheem Sterling, Jon Flanagan, Daniel Sturridge and Philippe Coutinho have all become excellent Premier League players. Whilst he relies on the experience and leadership of Steven Gerrard, his ability to bring in and develop young players is his strongest suit.
Rodgers did go against this grain last summer when he brought in Kolo Toure from Manchester City on a free transfer. This would be seen as a similar move to snapping up Cole, and it has not exactly been a roaring success. A notable mistake against West Brom earlier in the season cost the Reds two points, which would come in very handy now, per James Nursey of the Mirror.
Having won everything there is to win at club level, Cole’s motivation will not be what it was. Rodgers is building an exciting, fresh, ambitious young team at Liverpool, and the 33-year-old does not fit into that ethos.
Liverpool certainly need to improve their defence, of that there is no question. But they have put themselves in a position to attract much better prospects than the cast-off from a team below them in the Premier League. They should make the most of that fact.