19 July 2010

On Joe Cole

"Wherever I go, it'll be a footballing decision. I want to play in a more central position and I want a manager who has faith in me. And I'm talking about club football here."
- Joe Cole, June 27, 2010
There are certainly signs for optimism in the signing of Joe Cole, which is still subject to a medical. It is nice to know that Liverpool can convince anyone to join the club at the moment, especially when Cole's known to have wanted to stay in London. Not to mention that teams actually in the Champions League were supposedly in for him.

Still, Liverpool haven't had the best record with injury-plagued free transfers now, have they?

Not only that, but while the flanks have been a preeminent concern for, say, the last six years, there are bigger holes at the moment. Joe Cole's best position is behind the striker, which is why I've included the above quote. That's also where Aquilani and Gerrard are at their best. Or he plays on the left, where Jovanovic looks likely to step in and Liverpool already have Babel and Riera (hopefully Riera's on his way out, ideally via cannon). Or on the right, where there's already Kuyt and Maxi. Yes, he's a versatile attacker who can play anywhere across the line of three in the 4-2-3-1 (which I sincerely hope Hodgson sticks with), and those frequently come in handy, but it's not a priority. Left back (two, really) and striker are priorities.

Look, at this point, I'm glad Liverpool's signed anyone. And less than a month ago, I was absolutely shouting for his inclusion in the England starting XI. Liverpool needs tricky, creative players, especially since the departure of Benayoun, and both Cole and Jovanovic ostensibly fit that brief. But there's cause for concern when we're discussing a frequently-crocked attacker on a rumored £90,000 a week. The name "Harry Kewell" rings an atonal bell.

Not to mention that even with Joe Cole, and if Liverpool sign Loïc Remy and a left back or two, as has been heavily rumored, Hicks and Gillett will still be the owners, and Purslow and Broughton will still be running day-to-day matters. £90,000 per week is a pittance compared to interest payments of £110,000 per day.

Pessimism reigns supreme this summer. It cannot be helped. Nevertheless, I'll be glad to welcome Joe Cole to Anfield. At the least, he won't be able to score winners against Liverpool anymore.


Anonymous said...

Confused but very pleased - this is a great signing for the club.

Fits into multiple places on the pitch. Hope he locks down a starting position as I think he's way more valuable than any of our other AMs.


drew said...

We haven't had a proper winger since, what, Mcmanaman? And even so a lot of his damage was done from the middle of the pitch.

"At the least, he won't be able to score winners against Liverpool anymore."

If we lose a match to a Cole og I'm blaming you.

nate said...

Hahaha, as I wrote that, Drew, I was thinking of the Gerrard "backpasses" against Chelsea and thought about trying to find a joke in there. Oh well.

And yeah, JP, 'confused' is the perfect one-word summation.

Earl said...

Finally some good news, and an indication that the brand is still an attraction. Didn't think there was any way he would sign. I'll trade him for Yossi any day. This has to be a positive for the guys who are weighing whether to stay or go, right? Not anything monumental, but goddamn I'm happy right now. Just to see someone with options throw in his lot with Liverpool is great news.

I love your work man, but talk about left back, owners, injuries or debt another day. I'm tired of being depressed about this season. This could be a scary lineup. When Aquilani breaks out this year Liverpool should be a goal scoring machine.

nate said...

Sorry, Earl, after repeatedly intoning "picture the bigger picture," I'd be remiss if I didn't discuss those things. Nothing happens in a vacuum.

It is good news, and I made my feelings clear on that front. If it helps convince Gerrard and Torres to stay, it's great news; worth every penny of that £90k a week. Liverpool could have a very scary attack-oriented line-up.

But the owners, the debt, and the lack of a left-back still matter, even when discussing this signing. I hesitate to toss out the word "distraction," but it's on my mind.

keith.cygan said...

From what I've heard -- and I've admittedly never seen a Standard Liege match -- Jovanovic played striker in Belgium. Of course, with Serbia in the World Cup, it appeared that he played more of a wing/outside midfield position, so I'm not sure where Hodgson is going to use him. I'm kind of hoping he's better suited as a striker -- it helps clear the logjam at attacking midfield and gives LFC better Torres insurance than N'gog.

Earl said...

Damn it all, that was my red flag as well. This would be the perfect distraction to get everyone in good spirits before ripping their hearts out by selling Torres or Masch next week.

I know he plays winger too, but I was also under the impression Jovanovic would be used more at striker.

nate said...

Speaking of "distractions"...

It doesn't affect me, or the majority of those that visit this site, but hours after the Cole signing was announced, Liverpool
hiked ticket prices.

Handy chart straight up jacked from RAWK:

Category A games
Kop - was £37 - now £43 - +16.2%
Other stands - was £39 - now £45 - +15.4%

Category B games
Kop - was £35 - now £39 - +11.4%
Other stands - was £37 - now £41 - +10.8%

Category C games
Kop - was £35 - now £37 - +5.7%
Other stands - was £37 - now £39 - +5.4%

But keep calm and carry on.

God, I hate playing Captain Buzzkill...

drew said...

And let's just remember that the extra 6 quid a game they're bleeding out of everyone immediately goes to pay down interest on debt. Not to, you know, build a new stadium or anything.

Mike Georger said...

Brilliant diversion again on their part.

But at the same time if the games are sold out it's not exactly like they're forcing it upon people. As much bold talk about boycotts as there may be, someone is still buying the tickets. Even though it will surely go toward debt payments, it's not like you get out of a financial mess by bringing in less money.

Earl said...

I admittedly know nothing of prices for English games, but even with the increase they sound pretty reasonable. Welcome to pro sports fellas, what do you think will happen with a new stadium? I'm sorry, but that's par for the course over here. In the U.S., not only do they hike ticket prices every year but our billionaire owners force us to build new stadiums for them with public funds. Or they pack up and move the team to a city that will. At least you don't have to build those idiots a new stadium for the priviledge of being bent over on game days.

drew said...

There were quite a few matches last year that weren't sold out. While it's nice to just be able to walk up and get tickets 15 minutes before the match, it's not exactly a sign of health at a club which already has much less capacity and matchday income than its supposed peers.

nate said...

Earl, you're preaching to the choir about pro sports screwing fans both ways, but that's a big rise. If memory serves, prices remained fairly consistent from '08-09 to '09-10.

But my point was that it's just like Liverpool under the four horsemen to wait until they've got big happy news like Cole signing before springing this on fans. It's a dick move, even for pro sports.

Mike Georger said...

It's a dick move, but isn't it the smart move from their standpoint? (Assuming of course their standpoint consists of "fuck it) If they release the ticket news yesterday it's the lead story on Soccernet. Today it's buried.

They can't even be consistently good at making themselves look bad!

Fan Futbol said...

I'm excited about the Cole signing. I'm always liked his play and felt he's been overly criticized throughout his career. He's got injury issues, yes, but also the potential to be a game-winner.

At the risk of getting attacked, I think we should pursue Michael Bradley. He's a young, solid box to box midfielder who plays every game like his life depends on it. Anfield would love him.


Earl said...

I didn't mean to gloss over the fact that its a big increase for one year or the slimy way it was done, my apologies to the fans who actually get to attend games. I was just surprised at the prices, I thought they'd be higher.

I love Michael Bradley, but I don't think he's ready for a top flight club. I do hope he's playing in England next year, even if I have to root against him twice.