Aston Villa Football Club has welcomed two new signings within a short space of time. Yesterday, we welcomed former England international Joe Cole to B6. Cole’s addition to the squad was another free transfer for Paul Lambert, perhaps showing that his hands really are tied in the transfer market this summer. Nevertheless, Cole is a signing that I am quite pleased with for a number of reasons. For me, Joe Cole ticks a number of boxes:
- he’s experienced, with a good pedigree;
- he’s a creative, number ten type player;
- he has a good attitude;
- he’s different to any other player we have at present;
- he’s taken a pay cut to join Villa.
Joe Cole has been there and done it: he didn’t play for Chelsea and Liverpool by chance. Admittedly, his best years are probably behind him. All the same, he will still have plenty to offer us. At an uncertain time for Aston Villa Football Club, the fact that Cole turned down offers from foreign teams to join Villa speaks volumes.
Cole has never been a player who relies on having great pace; his touch, vision and skill have led to his successful career. I don’t see his age as a problem: losing a yard of pace shouldn’t have any great bearing on his game.
Cole has stated that Paul Lambert signed him to play in ‘the hole’. Last season, with N’Zogbia missing, we didn’t really have anyone in our squad who could fill that role and we now have two capable players. A central area containing Westwood, Delph and Cole looks good to me and I can see them complementing one another. I see Westwood in particular benefitting from having someone like the former West Ham man around him. Movement at times is not our strong point and Cole will be a bonus in that respect. Westwood’s strong suit is his passing. I would back Cole to find little pockets of space and Westwood to find him.
Cole is a likeable character. He clearly loves football and, judging from his interview on AVTV, he just wants to play football. In addition, he will be able to offer good advice to our younger players. Jack Grealish in particular could learn a lot from Joe Cole.
I have seen on social media sites that some fans aren’t impressed with his injury record. According to the player, he was fit last season and just was not utilised by Sam Allardyce. The Hammers play a very direct game, which does not particularly suit someone like Cole, so I can see why he didn’t get much game time there. Cynics would point out that we played our fair share of direct football last season – and they’d be right. However, there have also been times over the last few years when we have played some nice football. Hopefully, the introduction of Cole will enable us to get the ball down a little more. Obviously, Cole will not start every game but I also think he would be a good option from the bench when games need calming down and seeing out. I also think he will help in home games: too often we struggle to unlock stubborn defences at Villa Park so having someone with a bit of nous will really help us. If he improves our performances at Villa Park he really will become a fans’ favourite.
We signed a playmaker in his thirties back in 1998 – Paul Merson. He turned out to be a great signing, so much so that I would argue he is a player who has never been replaced, and there are definitely traits of Merson’s that could apply to Cole’s game.
I believe the two signings we have made so far this summer would not have gone amiss this time last year as, in hindsight, additional experience really would have helped, especially in the two positions we have strengthened. Aston Villa Football Club has acted reasonably quickly this transfer window, which is good to see. If we aren’t going to spend money before a takeover then the signing of Cole in particular is fine by me. The fact he has taken a pay cut reflects well on him, he sounded genuinely pleased to have joined Villa and I look forward to seeing him in action next season.
One thing I do find odd is that new contracts for Vlaar, Delph and Agbonlahor are on hold but we are able to sign new players. We are playing a dangerous game: signing Cole but losing someone like Delph for nothing would not be good business. I hope this is something that gets looked at soon.
What do you make of the signing of Joe Cole? Let me know by leaving a comment below.