Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Official: Liverpool Sign England International Joe Cole

Premier League giants Liverpool have confirmed the capture of England international Joe Cole on a free transfer. The attacking midfielder was available on a free transfer after leaving Chelsea earlier this summer.

The Reds have announced on their official website that they've agreed personal terms with Cole and that the gifted midfielder will undergo a medical in the next 48 hours. The highly rated winger will sign a four-year deal with his new club upon completion of the medical.

Cole is Liverpool's second signing of the summer transfer window. The Reds previously secured the services of Serbian international Milan Jovanovic from Belgian outfit Standard Liege on a free transfer.

The 28-year-old Cole is a product of the West Ham youth system, but left the Hammers for a spell at Chelsea in the summer of 2003. He won three league titles and two FA Cups during a seven-year stay at Stamford Bridge. Additionally, he has represented his country 56 times, scoring 10 goals in the process.

The England international initially appeared to be on his way to Arsenal, while Tottenham Hotspur and Milan were also believed to be interested in signing Cole. The versatile midfielder will ply his trade at Anfield Road instead though in the 2010-'11 campaign.

Cole will be wearing the number 7 jersey at Liverpool, a number previously worn by Robbie Keane, who left the club for Tottenham Hotspur in January 2009.

Jamie Carragher: Joe Cole Swoop Shows Liverpool FC Mean Business

Jamie Carragher warned Liverpool's rivals they “mean business” next season as he hailed the headline-grabbing arrival of Joe Cole.

The Reds' vice-captain, who has returned to training at the club's Melwood base, is delighted Cole had spurned the advances of Arsenal and Tottenham to join Roy Hodgson's revolution.

Cole arrived at Liverpool's Swiss pre-season camp here in Bad Ragaz last night with his father, George, and will undergo a medical at the team hotel today, which has its own sports science facility.

No problems are envisaged and, once that is completed, Cole will put pen-to-paper on a deal that will keep him at Anfield until 2014.

It is quite a coup for Hodgson and it is a move which Carragher believes shows Liverpool are serious about reclaiming their place in the Champions League.

Carragher is looking forward to linking up with Cole and he has no doubts the 28-year-old will quickly become a favourite on The Kop.

“It's great news and it is a message that Liverpool mean business,” said Carragher. “We have signed a top international player who has been really important for Chelsea.

“A lot of clubs wanted to sign him but it is a real coup that he has chosen to come here and you have got to give the manager and the board a pat on the back for convincing him to come.

“Joe is someone I have known for a long time from playing with England. He is a great lad to have around the squad, he mixes well and is lively character – he's also an outstanding footballer.

“In the modern game, you need forwards that can function in two or three different positions and Joe will do that, no problem at all. He can play on the right, through the middle or on the left.”

Once the Cole deal is wrapped up, Hodgson will turn his attention to signing a left-back – Maynor Figueroa of Wigan continues to be linked – but there is little doubt only one man's name will dominate the agenda for the time being.

An impish box of tricks, Cole proved to be something of a thorn in Liverpool's side during his time at Chelsea and scored winning goals on three occasions.

Though he has endured trouble with injuries in recent seasons, Carragher saw enough when the pair was at the World Cup finals this summer to suggest he will flourish in Red.

“Every supporter that I have spoken to is absolutely delighted and all the players are the same – it's given everyone a boost, just at the right time,” said Carragher.

“It has been a long summer and we have been in a transitional period but now the World Cup is out of the way, we can start to look forward again.

“Joe is a player who has the ability to get supporters off their seats and I've no doubt he will do that here; the fact we have got him has given everyone a boost around the city.

“It's good news again and, hopefully, there will be more to come. It's the kind of signing that we needed to make.”

Mark Lawrenson Hails Joe Cole As 'Perfect Fit' For Liverpool

Former Liverpool defender Mark Lawrenson believes that Joe Cole will fit in at Anfield well and improve the team.

Cole joined Liverpool on a four-year deal on Monday, with the Merseysiders fighting off interest from Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur to snare the player, a free agent after being released by Chelsea earlier in the summer.

Lawrenson feels that the England international will reinvigorate some of the other star names at the club and make Roy Hodgson's team a much more effective attacking unit.

"Joe Cole and Liverpool are a perfect fit - a really good move for player and club," the pundit told The Daily Mirror.

"Assuming his knee is okay - and he trained and played for England at the World Cup - then you’ve got a fit player with miles on the clock.

"A player who is extremely fresh and just wants to play, he has come into the club under a new manager and he is that manager’s choice.

"The sums also make sense as Yossi Benayoun had two years left on his contract and went for £5million."

"If things don’t work out for Joe at Anfield then he can simply move on and the club would get a decent transfer fee for him.

But to be honest the fans will love him. And if you’re Fernando Torres or Steven Gerrard and you were thinking of leaving, you’d maybe think: ‘Hang on a minute. The club is showing a bit of ambition here’."

Cole's presence in the squad also gives Hodgson options in attack, with Lawrenson feeling that the England international should play wide with Steven Gerrard lining up just off the striker.

"But Joe will now give Roy Hodgson options at Liverpool. He can play right side, left side or off the forward," the former defender added.

"As things stand now - assuming the players stay - I see them lining up in a 4-2-3-1 with Cole right side in a three behind the striker, Gerrard playing off Torres and Milan Jovanovic on the left."

Meanwhile, Lawrenson also feels that Javier Mascherano's lack of contact with Hodgson shows a lack of respect from the player towards his new manager.

"We live in such a technological age that there’s no other conclusion to draw than a sign of disrespect," he said.

"The thing is, this is where Mascherano could have used his agent to get on the phone and just be honest with Roy and say: 'I want to leave.'

"Roy has been around the block. He’d know how to handle things the right way. He’d have the time to get a replacement in and all this could have been avoided.

"Let’s hope there can yet be a conclusion to this that suits all parties."

Reto Ziegler 'Tops Roy Hodgson's Left-Back Transfer List For Liverpool'

Swiss international defender Reto Ziegler has emerged as new Liverpool manager Roy Hodgson's top transfer target to fill the vacant role at left-back.

Sampdoria star Ziegler, who starred in the group stages of this summer's World Cup, could be available for a cut-price fee of around £6million as reports suggest he is keen to leave the club.

Following Luigi del Neri's departure for Juventus earlier this summer, a number of players are thought to be on the verge of leaving - with former Spurs player Ziegler among them.

The Swiss has some Premier League experience from his time at White Hart Lane, as well as a loan spell with Wigan in 2006.

And while Spurs fans will remember him as something of a lightweight in defence, Ziegler's reputation has burgeoned since quitting north London in 2007.

The 24-year-old is now regarded as one of Europe's top defensive prospects and would be a good fit in Hodgson's rebuilding of the side.

Hodgson Locks In On Norwegian Rooney

Liverpool boss Roy Hodgson is considering an offer for Stromsgodset forward Marcus Pedersen, who has drawn comparisons with Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney.

The 20-year-old forward struck 10 goals in 24 appearances for his club last season while starting the 2010 campaign with 6 goals in his opening 15 games.

Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet have revealed that Reds boss Roy Hodgson sent scouts to watch Pedersen in the last two weeks and the Anfield chief is set to make a formal offer for the talented striker.

Jostein Floe, a Stromsgodset official revealed that despite Liverpool’s interest, a number of top clubs were following the youngster:

"There are several clubs who have followed him for a long time. But we have not yet received any bids for him."

Pedersen has a year and half left on his contract at the Norwegian club and it is thought the bustling striker would fetch a fee in the region of £5 million.

Work Permit Problems See Real Madrid Snatch 'New Didier Drogba' Juan Lescano From Liverpool

Real Madrid have snatched the 'new Didier Drogba' - Juan Lescano - from Liverpool after work permit problems scuppered his move.

Lescano, 17, had been training at Melwood for the last four months with the Reds' youth ranks after being picked up by ex-manager Rafael Benitez. After showing considerable promise, a permanent deal had been set-up for the Argentinian before it was scuppered by red tape.

Madrid have moved in quickly to sign the youngster and he will now join up with their Castilla sides. Speaking to, Lescano was looking forward to his new start in the Spanish capital.

"At Liverpool people like [Javier] Mascherano and [Emiliano] Insua helped me a lot, but after the legal problems this is a big opportunity for me," Lescano said.

Inter Set To Pounce As Barcelona Cool Interest In Liverpool Midfielder Javier Mascherano

Barcelona are believed to have pulled out of the race to sign Liverpool midfielder Javier Mascherano, leaving Inter as clear favourites to land the Argentina captain.

With new manager Roy Hodgson still understood to be unable to contact Mascherano, his future at Anfield looks increasingly uncertain but according to, his destination is looking more likely to be Italy as Spanish giants Barcelona are reluctant to shell out a massive fee for the Reds midfielder having already spent €40 million [£24m] securing the services of David Villa.

A failed pursuit of Cesc Fabregas this summer may alter that stance but it now appears that European champions Inter will seize Barcelona's hesitancy as an opportunity to step up their pursuit of Mascherano.

Coach Rafael Benitez is understood to be keen to renew acquaintances with the man he brought to Anfield. Nerazzuri president Massimo Moratti and sporting director Marco Branca are reportedly set to move in the coming days to secure the services of the 26-year-old.

Anger As Liverpool FC Raise Anfield Match Ticket Prices By 15% For Big Games

Liverpool fans are facing a 15% surge in ticket prices to their team’s biggest home games.

Despite a poorer than expected performance on the pitch bosses at Anfield opted to charge up to £45 for tickets next season.

Angry fans are already claiming they are being penalized as they are made to pay to service the club’s crippling £237m debt.

LFC announced games will fall into three categories and each would have different priced tickets.

Matches played against the club’s six biggest rivals will cost £45 to watch in the Main Stand, Centenary Stand, Paddock Enclosure and Anfield Road. Tickets in the Kop will be just £2 cheaper, at £43.

Those “Category A” games are against Arsenal, Chelsea, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

Last year top matches cost £39 to go to.

A statement on the club’s website said: “Liverpool Football Club have today confirmed ticket prices for the forthcoming 2010-11 Barclays Premier League campaign.

“Liverpool’s 19 home league matches have been divided into three pricing categories to reflect demand for tickets amongst supporters.”

The announcement follows a 7% hike in the cost of season tickets for Anfield.

In June the club said Kop tickets were being pushed up to £680, and Anfield Road, Centenary and Main Stands peaking at £722 or £732 respectively.

And Reds who wanted to buy tickets by post, phone or by visiting the club were stung with a £52 admin fee.

Supporter union Spirit of Shankly spokesman James McKenna said today: “They’ve done it to earn more money for the football club because we’ve got massive debts and we’re making losses.

“I would imagine a lot of fans are going to be asking questions about how they can justify it. There’s quite a lot of anger already about it.

“There are a lot of people questioning whether they will be going to Anfield considering the prices. I think the terraces could certainly be affected.”

Category B matches, which include home ties against Aston Villa and Newcastle United, will cost £39 in the Kop and £41 elsewhere. All other matches will cost £37 for Kop tickets and £39 everywhere else.