Welcoming Joe

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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.

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My name's Dan Bardell. I'm 29 and I sit in the Upper Holte with my dad. This is our 22nd year as season ticket holders. My favourite ever players are Ian Taylor, Thomas Hitzlsperger, Gareth Barry, Olof Mellberg, Martin Laursen and Stan Petrov. My current favorites are Westwood, Clark and Grealish. Feel free to comment or follow me on twitter: @danbardell

7 COMMENTS

  1. Regardless of the current club position on being for sale this represents a good signing. A senior, experienced midfielder with leadership qualities have been desperately lacking. I’ve made comment before regarding Mortimer, he was no sprinter, but what he did have was the ability to take charge of the game from midfield. Cole will offer a similar style, a player who will look for the correct pass and have the ability to slow or speed up the game rather than hitting blind areas and hoping for the best. Our forward line will also benefit from Cole, they are fast, with Cole’s ability to actually put a foot on the ball and look for the runners can only be of benefit. Most Villa fans would agree that even as a substitute he offers far more benefit than the likes of other options.

    • Superb line you have written……Sums up the NEW Lambert strategy…..He’s getting the fans behind him again. Cole’s on his last legs so another great way to get a final payday, as for other clubs interested, I just don’t see that.Love Cole, a Cole from a few years ago. This Cole, well….. We just have to wait and see but don’t hold your breath!

  2. If we can keep him largely injury free he will add quality no doubt – should be able to share the role with Grealish and Zog?

    All they need is to offer one year extensions to Delph, Vlaar and Gabby. Not rocket science as it would suit both club and players – surely?

  3. Given the situation we are in, it’s probably the best we could do. If he can avoid injuries then it’s probably not a bad signing!

    It’s quiet strange what’s going on with them three’s contracts! Surely we don’t want to lose them for nothing like albrighton, which was strange too cuz I thought he finished the season as one of our better players

  4. Looking at Joe Cole’s record, he has garnered 5 goals and 3 assists despite being injured for West Ham in 47 appearances. If you compare that with Paul Merson, who hit 18 goals in 117 matches along with 12 or 13 assists for Aston Villa, then Joe Cole is a long way off. Compare that with Charles N’Zogbia, who has 6 assists and 6 goals from 58 appearances, and we know not only that Joe Cole is capable of having a spark, but N’Zogbia did not do as badly as we thought at Villa. Both these players deserve a chance.
    What about Hutton? He can’t be any worse. Just a few weeks back the Bolton and Nottingham Forest management were full of praise fir Hutton. When McLeish signed him from Spurs, I quote him saying the following:”As soon as I knew Villa were interested it was the only place I wanted to go. This is a massive club with great players.”
    That shows the commitment the right back had towards Villa.
    Besides, Joe Cole has already discussed great memories of Villa Park with the mail’s Mat Kendrick, so why don’t we give him a chance? He can’t be worse than the current lot, can he?

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