Villa revealed Cole's medical had taken place and later confirmed the deal via their official Twitter account:
The player himself recorded the following message for Villa fans:
Cole was released by West Ham, his boyhood club, following the expiry of his contract, and Paul Lambert has moved quickly to acquire the services of the 32-year-old, who has enjoyed two spells at Upton Park as well as stints with Liverpool and Chelsea. The former England international brings a wealth of experience with him to Villa Park.
Philippe Senderos also joined the Villans on a free transfer last week, per BBC Sport.
Bleacher Report’s Karl Matchett questioned the logic of signing these experienced figures and letting talented youngsters such as Marc Albrighton walk away:
Releasing Marc Albrighton on a free and signing Joe Cole on a free is quite some amount of nonsense from Aston Villa.— Karl Matchett (@karlmatchett) June 10, 2014
Admittedly, Cole has never quite lived up to the stratospheric potential he showcased as a youngster coming through the famed West Ham academy.
Blessed with wonderful technical ability and superb vision, Cole was viewed by many as one of the hottest English prospects around when he first burst on to the scene. His potential earned him a move to Chelsea in 2003 where he excelled initially.
His influence was vital as the Stamford Bridge club picked up consecutive titles in the 2005 and 2006 seasons. He went on to win another league title with the club in 2010 as well as three FA Cups and two League Cups.
But injury woes punctured the latter stages of his spell at Stamford Bridge, and he was released at the end of his contract. Liverpool took him on a free transfer, but he never hit it off at Anfield and was sent on loan to LOSC Lille for a season before returning to Merseyside.
Cole returned to West Ham in January 2013, signing an 18-month deal, but manager Sam Allardyce has chosen against extending his stay at the club any further. In truth, the abrasive, physical manner in which the Hammers play under Allardyce was never going to suit Cole, who would flourish best in a technical setup.
To that end, Oliver Kay of The Times thinks a move abroad might have been best for Cole at this stage of his career:
I've long felt Joe Cole needs to go somewhere (prob abroad) where he can enjoy playing football. #AVFC doesn't really seem like that place— Oliver Kay (@OliverKayTimes) June 9, 2014
But he's chosen Villa, and it's tough to foresee things being much better for Cole in the Midlands. While Lambert's team are not as unashamedly direct as West Ham, Villa play a style that is based on pace, power and physicality. Cole doesn’t really seem to fit in.
Perhaps Lambert is looking for Cole’s intricacy to add another dimension to his team’s attacking play. If so, it’ll be intriguing to see where he lines up in the Villa side. But after such a sustained spell in the wilderness and unyielding concerns over his fitness, it’s extremely difficult to predict just how well Cole will fare.