Fast forward two months and it is nearly a year ago since Liverpool thought they pulled off the free transfer coup of the summer, when Joe Cole signed a four-year deal at Anfield. However, the intervening season saw Cole slip out of favour and if recent press reports hold any weight, then the diminutive playmaker is set for a move back to the capital with Tottenham Hotspur.
Originally last July it was Spurs and Liverpool who were vying for his signature. He chose red over white and the rest was considered history. However, Cole was sent-off on his full league debut against Arsenal which badly disrupted the rhythm of his induction, and in truth he never recovered. This time around the fee for Cole is believed to be £3m, a deal which the Liverpool owners, Fenway Sports Group, should be eager to push through.
Harry Redknapp has had an affinity for Cole ever since their time together at West Ham, when the latter was burdened with the tag of ‘the future of English football’. It was one day envisaged he would fill the international boots graced by the magical – but unhinged – Paul Gascoigne, but since then his career has lacked continuity. Many Tottenham supporters may question such an acquisition as there are serious suggestions that Cole is an insurance policy for Luka Modric, who himself is unsettled at White Hart Lane and is wanted all over Europe; with Sir Alex Ferguson the Croatian’s biggest admirer. It would be a massive blow for Redknapp’s side to lose their lynchpin, especially to one of their domestic rivals in what may feel like Groundhog Day, after Dimitar Berbatov chose the same path back in 2008.
Selling Modric surely sends out the wrong message for a side that were in the ascendency after playing in their first Champions League campaign last season. Their offensive approach won acclaim across the continent, but failure to re-qualify may cost them, as their top players revelled in the experience of dining with Europe’s elite.
Cole would certainly be keen to impress if the move came to fruition, as he would be desperate to repay the faith shown in him by Redknapp and prove he is not the most enigmatic English footballer of his generation. It appears a move which would suit his current club more than his potential employers as he is earning somewhere in the region of £90k-a-week, a figure which seems disproportionate for someone who barely qualifies as a squad player. It would release money for Liverpool to continue their renaissance under Kenny Dalglish, where the objective is to build around young homegrown talent.
It may be a transfer strewn entirely from press hyperbole, but signing an injury plagued 29-year-old who has suffered damning lacks of form, seems a massive gamble by the north-Londoners. Conversely, it may be a stroke of genius to give a determined player one last shot at making a name for himself with a top-six outfit. Only time will tell.