Recent comments attributed to Harry Redknapp have suggested Joe Cole is on the move, with an agreement having been reached for the Englishman to join his new club upon the expiration of his Chelsea contract.
Many are now pondering who this club could be with the player having been linked with the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham and Manchester City over the last few months. It appears unlikely that Cole would consider a move anywhere outside of the top five or six clubs in the Premier League. He certainly has the quality to remain at the top level in the Premier League, still in the peak years of his career.
After beginning his career at West Ham United as a local youngster and then moving to Chelsea, Cole appears settled in London. It would be fairly surprising if Cole decided to make the move up north. This would seem to signal a move to either Tottenham, which Harry Redknapp has now dismissed, or their North London rivals, Arsenal.
Joe Cole’s skill and ability would fit in extremely well with the style of the Gunners, playing the more central, creative role that Arsene Wenger likes to have his players fill.
In adding to a squad already filled with quick thinking, skilful, attacking players there are not many better free transfers in the offing this summer than Joe Cole.
If Cole is to sign for Arsenal though, Wenger may struggle to keep his current squad happy, given the options available to him. He already has similar players in Andrey Arshavin and Samir Nasri. Add to that Robin van Persie, Marouane Chamakh, Nicolas Bendtner, Tomas Rosicky and Theo Walcott and Wenger appears spoilt for choice in the attacking department. Depending on how quickly Chamakh is able to adapt to the team and the Premier League, I would expect Cole to be given more of a central role, a position he has already declared his best, playing just behind van Persie, and allowing Arshavin and Nasri to take up positions in the midfield. Wenger, is not known for selecting two target men up front on too many occasions, instead preferring to have a player play off the main striker to find the spaces on the edge of the penalty area. The midfield is then more easily able to advance the ball into the attack with the quick, intricate passing which the team have become renowned for.
As an Englishman, proven in the Premier League, Arsenal may be keen to tie up a deal for Cole to meet the quota system, introduced by UEFA, to include more British players in the squad. Arsenal have been continually criticised for their lack of British players, with Theo Walcott the only high profile one in the squad.
With the expected loss of Cesc Fabregas also, Wenger will be concerned about the potential loss of creativity within his team, a void that Joe Cole would help to fill. Cole, despite playing in a different position, is a player who can contribute to the team in both goals and assists much like Fabregas, thus helping to compensate for the loss of the Spaniard. With the loss of such a potent source of goals for the team, should Fabregas leave, Wenger will want to have as many creative players in the team as possible. Wenger will also be pleased to sign a player who can settle into the team quickly after the loss of such an important player, lowering the threat of criticism from supporters, should the players signed to replace Fabregas fail to make an impact.
With nothing, as yet, having been announced regarding a move to the Emirates for Joe Cole, speculation is sure to continue. Given the current options at Arsenal, a move to the Emirates doesn’t seem as obvious as it may have first appeared. If there are to be any more departures from the Emirates though, added to that of Cesc Fabregas, then Arsenal’s need for Joe Cole may become clearer in time. The likes of Manchester United and Liverpool have more urgent and obvious gaps to fill. You can perhaps see Cole having a more secure position within the side at both of these clubs rather than Arsenal. If both clubs cement their interest as well as Arsenal, Joe Cole may have a difficult decision to make, if he hasn’t made it already….
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