Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cole a Sign of the Times at Liverpool; Top Stars May Be Swayed by New Arrival

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Cole a Sign of the Times at Liverpool; Top Stars May Be Swayed by New Arrival

Article excerpt

ENGLAND midfielder Joe Cole's arrival at Liverpool has more significance than just bolstering Roy Hodgson's squad as it is a key marker in the battle to keep Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, writes CARL MARKHAM.

The former Chelsea star has agreed personal terms on a four-year contract and will undergo a medical over the next two days before the deal is officially concluded.

Cole - heavily linked with Arsenal and Tottenham - will bring some muchneeded creativity to a side which was sadly lacking in that department last season when they finished a disappointing seventh in the Barclays Premier League.

However, irrespective of the talents of the 28-year-old - and they are considerable - his signing is seen as a statement of intent by Hodgson.

The former Fulham manager took over from Rafael Benitez at the start of the month but many questioned whether he had the necessary star quality, combined with a lack of Champions League football, to attract the marquee signings required to get the club back on its feet again.

Even before last season had ended, Torres spoke out about the need to bring in four or five quality players while speculation about Gerrard's future, having again been linked with a move to Real Madrid, began to grow.

Securing the services of Cole, the biggest free transfer available this summer, will go some way to placating Torres, while Gerrard will no doubt appreciate playing alongside an England team-mate.

Liverpool's record goalscorer Ian Rush believes the signing has only enhanced Hodgson's reputation - even before a ball has been kicked. "Liverpool might not have been successful as we would have liked to have been recently, but this shows we can still attract top-name players, whether that's an England international or a foreign international," he said.

"We've got a great new manager in Roy Hodgson and he knows what he wants and he can talk these players into signing for our club. …

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