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Cole opts for Lille deal despite late Villa bid

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31 Aug 2011 16:30:18

England international Joe Cole said he was looking forward to boosting Lille's fortunes this season after signing a one-year loan deal with the French champions on Wednesday.

Liverpool player Cole, 29, had travelled to France Tuesday to undergo a medical and, despite a late bid by Aston Villa, he opted to join the Ligue 1 club.

"Lille, Liverpool and Joe Cole have agreed on the terms of a one-year loan deal," Lille said in a statement.

It was later confirmed that no purchase option was included in the contract.

Cole, who began his top flight career with West Ham before going on to play for Chelsea then Liverpool, has won three Premier League titles with Chelsea.

He has also scored 10 goals for England in 56 appearances.

His future at Liverpool, however, had been hanging in the balance since last season. This campaign Cole has not featured in the squad for any of Liverpool's four competitive matches so far.

Lille were looking to reinforce their attack as they embark on the Champions League this season and regard Cole's "experience and breathtaking honours list" as a boost to their campaign.

Despite a late bid from Aston Villa on the final day of summer transfers, Cole said he opted for Lille due to their Champions League status this season.

"I know they play good football and it's a good family club," said Cole, who will become one of only a handful of English players in the modern era to have plied their trade across the Channel.

"I always wanted to go to play abroad. I love football, I love watching it, I love talking about it. This is a great experience and a challenge to play for a team who wants to progress.

"This seems a very positive place. It looks to me that the club is going in the right direction and I'm excited about coming here and helping this club to win some trophies."

Despite his lack of opportunity at Anfield, Cole took the occasion to thank everyone at Liverpool.

And he said he was looking forward to playing with a team which he compared to a "small Barcelona".

"There's many reasons why it didn't go well for me last season in Liverpool. I didn't play a lot, which is the biggest thing," he added.

"I think I only played, when you add the minutes, about six premier league games, which is not enough. I wanted to come to a team that play attractive football and where I can play.

"To me, to get back to my best level all I need is patience and some game time. I'd like to thank everyone in Liverpool, it's a great club but I want to move forward. I need a round of games to get back to my best level."

He added: "We don't watch a lot of French football in England, it's not on television. I'm excited to meet all the guys. The way the guys play here reminds me a small Barcelona.

"They pass the ball and move the ball nice and quick."


AFP

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