Don’t get me wrong, Joe Cole would be a welcome addition to almost any side, particularly on a free transfer. I myself am an admirer of his style, which reminds Spurs fans of a modern-day Paul Gascoigne. Once Cole was out of contract with Chelsea, he was always going to be keen to stay in London with either Spurs or Arsenal with the prospect of Champions League football at both clubs.
Spurs seemed the most likely fit, given manager Harry Redknapp gave him his first professional contract while at West Ham. Not to mention five of his English teammates in South Africa ply their trade at the Lane, trying to convince Cole to join them. Even Frank Lampard, ex-Chelsea teammate and nephew of Harry Redknapp, tried to convince Cole that Spurs were the right fit for him.
In the last few weeks, it became evident that their was a three-horse race trying to secure the midfielders’ services. Word of his move to Spurs intensified within the Spurs grapevine, but nothing became official.
To the surprise of many, Cole utlimately decided to join Liverpool in what he dubbed for, “footballing reasons”. When word of the wages the Merseyside club were set to offer Cole, it became fairly obvious where he was going.
To refer to his decision as a footballing one, and to follow it up by saying “it was not financial”, is diabolical at best. If it were a footballing decision, he would playing at White Hart Lane or the Emirates next season.
As I said, Cole is a very talented player capable of playing on either wing, or as an attacking midfielder. His seven seasons at Chelsea, however, were marred by injuries and maturity issues. In those seven seasons, he was unable to command a starting place week in, week out at Stamford Bridge.
Redknapp likely viewed Cole as a signing to booster the prospect of playing a 4-5-1 in the Champions League, a formation that is ever-popular in the competition. Outside of him playing behind a target man in this formation, where would Cole fit in the 4-4-2?
Look at the positions Cole plays relative to this Spurs squad. Assuming Gareth Bale on the left wing, Aaron Lennon on the right, and Luka Modric in that attacking midfield role, there is no place for him in our 11. Not a chance Joe Cole displaces any of those three. Redknapp has reiterated his desire to play Bale at left back, but he will certainly feature in both roles depending on our opponent, healthy players, ect..
If you look at the cover we have for those players, Spurs fans should really care less about missing out on the injury-ridden player. You could easily make the argument that another Croatian, Niko Kranjcar is a superior player. The long-awaited Giovani Dos Santos era in North London should take off this season. The young Mexican forward appears to have cut his attitude with Redknapp, and was rated by FIFA as one of this summer’s three best young technical players in South Africa. Given the chance, Giovani can and will shine in 2010-2011.
David Bentley was markedly improved last season, and should have the chance this season to prove he was worth the pricy fee paid to Blackburn Rovers. There are youngsters aplenty on the wings and in the midfield for Spurs, with left winger Andros Townshend having been the most impressive on our first two friendlies this season. Single volley legend Danny Rose, along with midfielders John Bostock and Jake Livermore come with very high praise, and should get their chances sooner rather than later.
Point being, Joe Cole was never a necessary signing for Spurs. You can never have enough depth due to the physicality of English football, and the rigors that await in the Champions League. There is no shortage of creativity at White Hart Lane. And for £90,000, well thank God we weren’t that inept.
As for how he fits in with Liverpool is a different story. Assuming they don’t leave, (no safe assumptions at Anfield this summer) Cole, Gerrard, and Aquillani will all want to play the same position. That prospect spells nothing but trouble for the cash-strapped giants. Cash-strapped, and 90,000/ week for a player that does not fit their needs reaks in fiscal irresponsibility. Desperately scrapping up free transfers out there is only a short-term solution, for a looming potential crisis.