Rush: Cole is a fantastic buy
Liverpool legend Ian Rush believes signing Joe Cole is a real coup for new manager Roy Hodgson. Despite his undoubted merits working with players on the training ground, there were those who questioned whether the 62-year-old Englishman had the ability to attract top stars.
But securing the services of the biggest free transfer of the summer, admittedly on reported wages of £90,000 a week, sends out an important message, according to Rush. "I think it's a fantastic buy," said the club's record goalscorer.
"When you look at what we've got attacking-wise, we've got younger lads. But we needed more experience and Cole brings that. Joe could play just behind Fernando Torres. People don't know his position because he can play on the left, right and just off the striker, and I think it's a wonderful signing.
"Skill-wise he is the best in England - there is no-one better. I'm sure Roy Hodgson will play him in every game, especially if he is playing well, and maybe getting regular football is a reason why he has come to Liverpool.
"To get Joe to come out of London and come to Liverpool is a coup for Hodgson himself. A lot of people were expecting him to stay in London because that's where he was born and been brought up. I think this sends a sign out to Liverpool supporters that the club do mean business."
The 28-year-old England international has agreed personal terms on a four-year deal and will undergo a medical over the next couple of days, but no problems are envisaged which will prevent the deal being concluded. Cole's arrival will also provide Hodgson with a boost as he seeks to persuade the likes of Torres and Steven Gerrard they can be successful at a club which finished a disappointing seventh in the Premier League last season.
Thompson hails Cole capture
UEFA European Cup-winning captain Phil Thompson believes Hodgson has pulled off a masterstroke. "I think he [Hodgson] has had a chat with Torres, met with Steven Gerrard, and he'll have been saying to them, 'we've got a chance of getting Joe Cole'," the Reds' former assistant manager told Sky Sports News.
"Buying Joe will tell them all is not lost. Joe Cole has that bit of character, he can do something out of nothing and has the creative ability that Torres comes alive to, Gerrard too."
Hodgson will now turn his attention to finding a new left-back to replace Fiorentina-bound Emiliano Insua, and also a striker to ease some of the pressure on Torres.