The Joe Cole saga is finally coming to its climax as Liverpool announced that the club has come to an agreement with Cole. It's understood that he has signed a four-year contract worth £90k per week.
Roy Hodgson's arrival has clearly given the club a new lease on life. With the signing of Cole, Hodgson sent a clear signal out to his rivals that Liverpool are plotting to make a grand comeback next season after enduring a nightmare season under Rafa Benitez, who was later sacked due to his inability in maintaining a good rapport with the players.
Joe Cole was one of the high-profile free agents available during this transfer window. As expected, all the top clubs in England, including Manchester United, were interested in him.
However, in the end, it was a trilateral battle. Liverpool faced stiff competition from Arsenal and Tottenham for the Londoner's signature. Eventually Liverpool showed more ambition and offered a contract that was hard to rebuke.
Arsene Wenger, not so surprisingly, wasn't ready to break his stringent wage structure while Tottenham failed narrowly.
Indubitably, Liverpool were in dire need of Cole more than both Arsenal and Tottenham. Hodgson needed a marquee signing to convince his unsettled players that he's here to stay and restore the lost glory of the club. That's exactly what he did with his first signing.
Arsenal, meanwhile, continue to disappoint its fans by not being active in the transfer window.
The expectations were high when Wenger proclaimed at the end of last season that he would splash cash in the summer. The consensus had it that Wenger might get a war chest of close to £40 million to bring in more quality.
As it turned out, only an inexperienced Laurent Koscielny arrived for an undisclosed fee—in the region of £8 to £10m and of course Marouane Chamakh on a free transfer.
Wenger also saw a mass exodus of defenders from the Emirates. The arrival of just Koscienly isn't going to solve the immediate problem. Arsenal need to sign at least one more defender, preferably an established one, unlike Koscielny.
Arsenal must consider itself unfortunate after missing out on Cole, who could have added much needed quality and experience to the hugely inexperienced squad.
Both Theo Walcott and Samir Nasri struggled on the right flank last season, so there was room for a player who is versatile enough to play on the wings and middle. And Cole could have been the best choice if not for his high wage demands.
However, it would've been possible had Wenger managed to take off the names of misfiring Eduardo, Tomas Rosicky and Manuel Almunia from his wage list. That hasn't happened yet, so Cole will don a Liverpool jersey next season and compete for the Europa League.
Yet again, Wenger isn't showing real intent on bringing in a top-notch goalkeeper. An aged Mark Schwarzer is the only one who could be on his way to the Emirates, but even that is a distant possibility.
The worst-case scenario is sticking with Lukasz Fabianski for another season with Almunia expected to be relegated to the bench. If that's what the fans have in store, Wenger might need a mask or two to hide his face everytime Fabianski commits a blunder.
Meanwhile, Jay Simpson may finally get a chance to shine at Arsenal this season after scoring a brace in a 4-0 friendly win at Barnet.
Scoring against Barnet may not be the hardest of tasks but getting an opportunity to score against Premier League sides is a hard task especially if you are playing at Arsenal.
Although Simpson deserves a chance, he may not get one with Arsenal already having plenty of firepower up front. Correct me if I am wrong, if you are happy keeping players like Denilson on the squad, then why not give a chance to Simpson?
Wenger's stingy nature may yet again hamper Arsenal's chances in the upcoming season.
Arsenal needs a new netminder and a handful of defenders to compete against top sides, let alone win the League. On that note, Wenger must bring in players before issuing dishonest comments like Arsenal's young brigade may win the League, finally.
If Wenger doesn't act wisely and quickly, Manchester City might take Arsenal's position as part of the new big-three after Chelsea and Manchester United.
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