Cole: I want to win trophies
Joe Cole is looking forward to the challenge of playing for Liverpool, insisting his move to Merseyside was decided purely on football terms. Much was made of the wage demands - reportedly £90,000 per week - the England international was making having become a free agent following his release by Chelsea.
And having previously played for West Ham United he was expected to remain in London, with Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur both interested, but was convinced Anfield was the place to start afresh. Cole said he remembered the atmosphere when he played at the ground for the Blues in the UEFA Champions League semi-final of 2005, which the Reds won on penalties before going on to lift the trophy in Istanbul, and was looking forward to experiencing that on a more regular basis.
"This is a massive club. I tried to take everything out of the equation, take the financial and location side out, and just thought in football terms," said the 28-year-old playmaker, who has signed a four-year contract after passing his medical.
"I thought about the semi-final of the Champions League in 2005, when I ran on to the field and the hairs on the back of my neck stood up. I was thinking about playing in that atmosphere every week and that swung it for me. I know I have made the right decision and I am looking forward to the challenge.
"I have played in London all my life. I could have stayed at Chelsea because the fans loved me and I won things, but I wanted to challenge myself and when I knew Liverpool were interested it was a no-brainer because they are the biggest club in the country."
The signing of Cole is seen as something of a coup for manager Roy Hodgson, who has only been in charge since 1 July after replacing Rafa Benitez. During that time the 62-year-old Englishman has been working overtime to make his mark, both with potential new signings and the players he inherited.
Captain Steven Gerrard, linked with a summer move to Real Madrid, committed himself to the club yesterday after talks with Hodgson, who also travelled to Ibiza last week to speak with striker Fernando Torres during his holiday after Spain's FIFA World Cup™ triumph. Cole listened to Hodgson's ideas for taking the club forward after a disappointing seventh-placed finish in the 2009/10 Premier League, and leaped at the chance to work with his compatriot.
"I had a chat with the gaffer about football and was impressed with him," he said. "The club has had Spanish and French managers over the years, and I think it's a breath of fresh air to get an Englishman in. The club finished seventh last year, which wasn't good enough, and he explained where the club wants to go.
"I jumped on board because with the players we have here and the players we are looking to bring in, it's definitely going in the right direction. We have talked about positions in the team and types of formations he wants to play.
"I just want to be part of the team. I want to go out there and to run and fight for the lads and the fans. That's what I'll always do and Roy is the man who can make sure we are a nice unit as a team."
Cole is confident he can fit in playing alongside England colleagues Gerrard, Jamie Carragher and Glen Johnson, Torres and Liverpool's other stars. "I am used to playing with world-class players," he stated.
"I am excited about playing with Fernando and obviously I know Stevie, Carra and Jonno from the England set-up. Pepe Reina, Alberto Aquilani - there are a lot of big-name players here but I will need time to settle down and relax into the club.
"I can guarantee the fans I will be giving 100 per cent every game. I am proud to be playing for this club and will give my all in every training session and every game to help the club be successful and put some pots in the trophy cabinet."