Will Tidey - Joe Cole represents a new beginning for Liverpool
Published: 20 Jul 2010 - 06:59:37
If Roy Hodgson was looking to send an early message of intent to the red half of Merseyside, it's hard to imagine a more eloquent signing than Joe Cole.
In many ways Cole is the antithesis of life in the last throws of Rafa Benitez's reign - an expressive, mercurial talent, and an Englishman to boot. That he'll wear the number seven shirt made famous by Kevin Keegan and Kenny Dalglish will not be lost on those who covet a return to former glories.
But perhaps most important is the fact Cole chose Anfield. Tottenham and Arsenal would have guaranteed Champions League football, and with it the chance to stay in his beloved London, where he has set up home with girlfriend Carly Zucker and recently become a father.
- Liverpool sign Joe Cole / Transfer Centre
Not even the chance to work with Harry Redknapp, the man who brought him through the ranks at West Ham, or Arsene Wenger, a mentor who revels in indulging creative and enigmatic talents in the Cole mould, could compete with the vision of the future Hodgson laid out at Liverpool.
We can only imagine Hodgson sold Cole the Anfield dream he knew as a boy. The all-conquering Liverpool of the 1980s are overdue a comeback and their new manager has unquestionably promised Cole a starring role. 'I'll be King Kenny, you be Peter Beardsley.'
Too long a peripheral figure at Chelsea, the 28-year-old has finally been granted the trust he has longed for. And perhaps a move away from London was exactly what Cole needed to reimagine his career and return to the fundamentals that saw him tipped as England's next superstar at Upton Park.
For Hodgson, it could be a masterstroke. If what we're led to believe about Steven Gerrard playing a role in convincing Cole to move to Anfield is true, the new Liverpool manager could be halfway to winning over the Kop before a ball is kicked this season. If Joe Cole's arrival keeps Gerrard at Liverpool, he could prove the most important signing in the club's recent history.
Whether Fernando Torres can be convinced to stay is another matter. With Manchester City reportedly turning their attentions to Didier Drogba, Chelsea's interest in Torres will surely intensify and money may not be an object.
But if Torres does stay, and the Spaniard can recapture his best form with a rejuvenated Joe Cole in support, Liverpool under Hodgson can go some way to winning back the hearts and minds of their ever-romantic fanbase. And the top four could once again be a realistic target.
- FOOTBALL.CO.UK BLOGGER:Will Tidey
- Will Tidey writes on sport for CNN, Eurosport-Yahoo! and Bleacher Report, amongst others. His first book, 'Life with Sir Alex', an account of Sir Alex Ferguson's 25-year reign at Manchester United, is set for release in October this year. Pre-order it now at http://tinyurl.com/6xzl62b. And follow Will on Twitter here - www.twitter.com/willtidey
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