Monday, July 19, 2010

United's failure to sign Joe Cole leaves fans' asking questions...

So then, Joe Cole has finally signed for rivals Liverpool on a four year contract. This news will be greeted with utter dismay among the Red Army, because we had been led to believe Cole's family wanted him to stay in London. Clearly, that was not the case and now United fans will want to know why the club didn't sign the former Chelsea midfield player. Could it be the case United can longer even afford to meet the wage demands of a top international like Cole? But if that was the situation, how come cash-strapped Liverpool have been able to meet Cole's wage demands?

In the absence of any explanation, the fact that Cole was available on a free transfer and United haven't even tried to sign the Londoner is damning. It speaks volumes about the dire financial situation at Old Trafford. Failure to make any serious attempts to land Cole will rightly be seen as one of the most worrying developments following the Glazer family takeover back in 2005.

It beggars belief that Ferguson would not want to sign a player of Cole's undoubted ability; if that scenario filters through to the fans via United's friends in the media it will be viewed with utter contempt and rightly so.


  1. Have to say I am disappointed with this, as once it became apparent that Cole would leave on a free i thought he was ideal for us. He would fill a role that creative role we were sadly lacking last season and still has a couple of good years ahead of him and all for nowt. However i would hope that his wages weren't the only thing stopping us from signing him. I am hoping that Fergie has lined up someone else to come in Modric / Ozil? However i would be concerned from a financial and footballing point of view if we dont sign a Joe Cole type player before the end of the summer as this would mean we really are in trouble financially and/or else Fergie is sticking by Berbatov.

  2. Graham,

    Question for you; why would you go out and spend £20m+ on the fee for someone like Ozil and then agree to find another £5m in wages if you cannot afford a player like Cole on a free when you just need to pay his wages? It simply doesn't make sense.

    I have to be honest I no longer believe what Ferguson (and especially Gill) says about the Glazers in relation to be new signings.

    This is a very worrying development and all United fans should be extremely concerned.

  3. I'd just like to add, I do not see United signing any proven quality this summer. Cole was our best bet...

  4. This is a knee jerk article. Joe Cole has been woefully short of form for nearly two seasons now. Even when fit he wasn't good enough to get in the Chelsea team anymore, hence their reluctance to offer him a long and lucrative contract. He also has a troubling injury record. I think Fergie's decision not to go for him is a playing decision rather than a financial one. I hate the Glazers as much as the next fan but lets not assume that every single decision is based upon lack of money. It is far more likely that Fergie simply didn't think he was worth 90K a week plus a hefty signing bonus. Especially not for 4 years!

    Fact is I would much rather we invested in young exciting talent that have their best years to come, rather than their best years behind them. It says a lot about Cole that no top 4 club seriously went in for him. Hell, no top 6 club seriously went in for him.

    If we are going to sign players I would much rather see the likes of Ozil, Balotelli, Jovetic, Gourcuff etc. Players with bags of talent and under 23. Otherwise we'd be better off giving playing time to the likes of Cleverly, Obertan and Anderson.

  5. Simon,

    You are entitled to your opinion, but with respect, how do you know Arsenal didn't speak to Cole? We know for a fact that Spurs wanted him so the 'no club in the top six wanted him' argument is dead in the water...

    Cole didn't look too bad at Old Trafford last season and of course Liverpool wouldn't have signed him if there was a serious injury problem.

  6. Simon,

    I forgot to add when we don't sign that young dynamic midfield playmaker - I hope you will come back and amdit you were wrong about Cole...

    On the flip side, if of course we do make that signing then you will be right and you can comment about that telling me that I was wrong...

  7. I am sure plenty of clubs spoke with his representative and would have done a deal at the right price but teams like Arsenal and Manchester United were not willing to (a) match his wage demands or (b) guarantee him first team football. Liverpool were willing to guarantee him first team football. The only other club willing to do that was Spurs but they didn't want to match the 90K per week salary.

    At United and Arsenal he would have been a squad player. You don't pay a squad player 90k per week. It is a fruitless argument to say that the cost of his contract amortized over it's duration is low when you consider the lack of a transfer fee because it doesn't take into account the wage structure at clubs. If you have one player on 90K a week sitting on the bench, you upset the apple cart regarding the other players who demand parity. United and Arsenal are both wise to stick to their structures.

    I appreciate your response but it also doesn't address the fact that Cole has not performed at a top level since 2007/08 and arguably even then he was way behind we way he performed in 2006/07. I would much rather we focused our attention on young players that can get better and have the hunger and desire that I suspect Cole now lacks. If Ferguson had really wanted him I suspect the transfer would have happened but instead very early in the race for his signature he ruled us out saying he was not interested.

  8. James, I have to say that people seem to be forgetting the traditions of this club. We rarely sign the finished article. And when we do it often doesn't work out. We normally sign young players and develop them or bring our own young players through. We have a Brazilian international who is 22 and very dynamic. He needs to be given time and experience. We also have Cleverly who is an England u21 international and very highly rated. If we don't sign an Ozil or Jovetic then I won't be too down heartened. Both of these players have plenty to offer and we should give them game time.

  9. Simon,

    So you're saying (indirectly) it makes more sense to spend say £20m+ on player like Ozil or Modric plus their sky high wage demands?

    I appreciate your comments about Cole wanting first team football, and as you have pointed out you cannot play if you are injured; so any guarantee would be totally worthless in reality - both Cole and Ferguson would accept that as would any sensible person... perhaps the Hargreaves situation has played an unfornate part in all of this??? Not that I'm going to accept any excuse on this issue.

    Cole is better than any of United's left side midfield options.

    I'd also add that United are paying Berbatov if not more than £90,000 a week and he's turned into a squad player...

    IMO, United will live to regret not signing Cole. It is another big mistake.

  10. Yes United are much better of signing an Ozil for example for 20+ million plus wages because he offers the team much more than Cole could. You still haven't address the fact that Cole hasn't done it for over two years now. Why are we pretending he is much better than he really is?

    You say he is better than any of our left sided options but I would beg to differ. Nani is a player I would pick over him any day of the week. Both are predominantly right footed so no argument can be made that Cole is better suited to that role. Nani was arguably our break out star for the team last year.

    And as for Berbatov, he may have slipped to the bench but he wasn't signed with that in mind. He was signed with the intention of having him as a first team start...the final piece in the jigsaw. So far though he has failed to live up to expectations.

    You say "another big mistake".....honestly that made me laugh. What are the other big mistakes we have had to contend with? Fergie has a fantastic record in the transfer market. You seem extremely negative. Whereas I have total faith in SAF's judgement. If he decided not to push the boat out for Cole then it is for a reason. Many of which I have outlined. You are making a mountain out of mole hill in my opinion.

  11. Another big mistake? What were the other ones? You're being a little hyperbolic I think.

    Yes I firmly believe that United would be better of signing an Ozil for 20+m and high wages than an aged, out of form, Joe Cole for free. Why? because the former has so much more to offer the team.

    Lets get away from this notion that Cole is a world beater. He hasn't turned it on for years and even when he did it was sporadic. Did you know that over 35% of Cole's Chelsea appearances were as a substitute? Or that he has completed 90 minutes for England only 11 times? He missed most of 06/07 with injury and the same again in 08/09. He couldn't nail down a first team place consistently in either 07/08 or 09/10. The last time he truly performed consistently well was in 05/06 under Mourinho. That's 5 years ago.

    Fact is most people have a soft spot for Cole because he is an englishman with some ball skills...a rare beast....but he has never truly fulfilled his potential and the injuries have stripped him of the pace he once had.

    No sorry, this was a good call by United in ruling themselves out at an early stage. If he had been available cheaply and was willing to be part of a squad rotation system then his experience would have provided extra depth. But at 90K a week, dodgy fitness, huge ego and poor form, he was never worth a punt.

    Mikey O was a different sotry because he is on a pay as you play deal. Can't imagine Cole ever accepting that.

  12. Why is Cole signing for Liverpool considered a failure of United. He is obviously not what Sir Alex is looking for. And to answer why Ozil...
    I think Ozil is miles ahead of Cole as a player. And he is young and will develop further.

  13. arijeet,

    Please come back when the window has closed and then we will discuss Fergie's signings.... ...that's assuming there's anything to discuss which I seriously doubt!

  14. Simon,

    Big mistakes? How long have you got?

    Failing to move for Sneijder and Lucio last summer. Mourinho signed the pair of them for just 15million Euros.

    Signing Louis Saha for £12m then giving him away for free to Everton.

    Selling Stam because 'he'd lost a yard a pace' and then replacing him with Blanc who'd lost four yards of pace...

    Djemba-Djemba - so bad they named him twice.


    Allowing Pique to slip through his fingertips and in-so doing failing to realise his potential...

    Fergie has made some great buys, but he's wasted an awful lot of cash.

    Trust me I could go on, but it is late.

  15. Simon,

    If you seriously believe United will sign Ozil or Jovetic then I think you are deluding yourself. We have no money to spend. Madrid will probably get both of them. Jose is only too well aware of them.

    Cole was our best bet and we've blown it IMO.

  16. Correction: Lucio and Sneijder were signed for 20 million Euros.

  17. You are so negative mate. Lets address a couple of your gripes:

    1. Saha. He did really well at United for one season but other than that he was rarely if ever fit. His history had not indicated that prior to his arrival. It was the sensible thing ot let him go for a nominal fee. Would definitely not call it wasted money.

    2. Djemba-Djemba. Cost 3.5M Sold for about 2. Hardly a criminal waste of money.

    3. Kleberson. World Cup winner when he arrived. Failed to settle. Got a decent fee in moving him on and only cost 7M to begin with.

    4. Stam was sold on for a profit. Great fee for a player and the tail end of his career who was coming back from a serious achilles injury. That said, even Fergie has said he should have kept him longer. Also blame Stam's book revelations for his early exit.

    5. Who knows the circumstances behind us not signing Sneijder or Lucio. I would have liked to see Sneijder come. Not bothered about Lucio. He's 30 and had a couple of poor seasons before last year. I feel we are well covered in that area.

    Lets see what the new season brings. As I said before I am not massively bothered if we don't sign anyone. So I am not pinning my opinion solely to the signing of Ozil or Jovetic. I would much rather see Anderson and Cleverly given a proper crack of the whip. Lets forget that 2/3 years ago Anderson was rated as the best young player in the world. Let's give this lad a couple more years to pull it together.

    People seem to forget the traditions of this club. We develop young players. We polish diamonds. We build teams. We rarely sign established stars. Ronaldo was bought at 18. Rooney at 17. Nani and Anderson at 19. Rafael and Fabio at 18. Valencia at 23, Evra and Vidic at 24. Keane at 23. Ferdinand at 24. Scholes, Beckham, Butt, Sharpe, Giggs, Nevilles, Fletcher, Evans, Brown, O'Shea, Gibson etc all came through the youth team. We shouldn't be afraid to do this again and put our trust in the likes of Anderson, Wellbeck, Macheda, Hernandez, Smalling, Fabio and Rafael, Obertan etc etc. It's less glamorous at the time but ultimately much more rewarding.

    The same people going transfer potty now claiming United have to sign people are the same people that abused Fletcher a few years ago or demanded Nani be moved on. Basically people who have a fundamental lack of understanding of (a) the game and (b) the traditions of this great club.

    We only finished 1 point off the top last year and would have easily won our 4th title in a row had we not had an unprecedented injury crisis in defence. So lets calm all the knee jerk reactions and be little sensible. We've been here before and in Fergie we trust.

    The Glazer issue is another one all together. We all hope they rot in hell and get out of the club asap. Unfrotunately I am not holding my breath.

  18. Just read through the comments here. People believe the reason we didn't make a move for Cole was because we are going for Ozil. Nothing we have seen so far this summer has suggested we have any money at all for Ozil, in fact the signs suggest we balked at the wages Joe Cole wanted.

    Personally I would much prefer Ozil over Cole and I hope that we do sign him but the signs suggest that a) we have no money (highly likely) or b) Fergie instance that the squad is fine is how he truly does see it. Both of these options are worrying. If we have no money then we simply wont compete and its a matter of time before we fall behind big spending rivals. If Fergie truly believes the squad is fine then the guy is finally losing the plot.

    I still believe Ozil will join Bayern. Germans are like English players and rarely play abroad.
    Modric wont leave Spurs this summer - maybe next year depending on how they do in the Champions league and how Man City and Liverpool push Spurs in the Premiership. Redknapp is a wheeler dealer, if Spurs had signed Cole then I could have seen him willing to sell Modric to spend that cash on a quality striker but only had they gotten Cole on that free transfer.

    More of Fergies shocking transfers include Liam Miller, David Bellion and Manucho - remember how god awful they all were. Can you tell me how Smalling, Obertan and Diouf look any different?

    @simon: regarding Nani on the left over Cole.
    I believe we need a more creative central midfielder over a left winger - hence why I would be much happier if we did indeed end up with someone like Ozil or Sneijder but I really don't rate Nani on the left. I felt Nani came on leaps and bounds last season but always when he played on the right. He just isn't the same on the left.

    Facts are we weren't good enough to win the league last season. Chelsea should have done better and when you think they will have Essien back this year, no african nations disrupting things and the possible big money signing of Torres then they are in a stronger position than 12 months ago.

    Man City will be stronger. They have added some very good players (i would have killed to see Silva or Toure at United) and they haven't stopped spending with another £70m out perhaps to land Milner and Dzeko (another player I would like United to sign). I would be very surprised to not see City have a genuine shot at a top 3 finish next season.

    I also believe Spurs will be a bit better (mainly depending on who redknapp signs) and that Liverpool will be more of a threat. Arsenal can never be written off and if they keep Cesc then they should be fighting for 3rd spot again.

    When I look at Chelsea, Man City, Liverpool, Arsenal, Spurs, I honestly believe they are stronger than 12 months ago. In Citys case much stronger, in Arsenals case marginally (depending on cesc) but United look weaker. In those 12 months we have seen Berbatovs form go completely down the toilet, Carrick the same, Hargreaves looks finished, Ferdinand missing more games than he plays, Vidic looking disinterested and pining for a Madrid move, and Scholes/Giggs/VDS/Neville all a year older. The good points from last season were Nani showing signs he might do well after all, Valencia living up to his 18m price tag and Rooney playing out of his skin - but at what cost? I cant see Rooney being able to do all that again in a weaker United squad. We are weaker than last season, a season where we weren't good enough to take advantage of a Chelsea side that looked pretty complacent for awhile.

  19. Just read through the comments here. People believe the reason we didn't make a move for Cole was because we are going for Ozil. Nothing we have seen so far this summer has suggested we have any money at all for Ozil, in fact the signs suggest we balked at the wages Joe Cole wanted. Ozil's wages wont be much different and will have a nice fat transfer fee on top.

    I still believe Ozil will join Bayern. Germans are like English players and rarely play abroad.
    Modric wont leave Spurs this summer - maybe next year depending on how they do in the Champions league and how Man City and Liverpool push Spurs in the Premiership. Redknapp is a wheeler dealer, if Spurs had signed Cole then I could have seen him willing to sell Modric to spend that cash on a quality striker but only had they gotten Cole on that free transfer.

    More of Fergies shocking transfers include Liam Miller, David Bellion and Manucho - remember how god awful they all were. Can you tell me how Smalling, Obertan and Diouf look any different?

  20. Dave,

    I agree with everything you've posted. You are not blinkered and you can see it as it is.

  21. Simon,

    1) If you think giving a £12m player away for free isn't a waste of money then your argument about paying silly wages seems something of a contradiction.

    2) United lost £2.2m and 2m on Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson respectively, they turned out to be bady buys no matter what.

    3) Selling Stam was a massive mistake - one that cost United £30m to correct. The book excuse is a red herring.

    While I don't blame Fergie for everything that goes on (paying Lazio £30m cash for Veron and then at more or less the same time giving them Stam and not getting paid for two years), he does make mistakes. Ferguson could have saved United a small fortune by identifying targets earlier. Two cases in point; Carrick (£3m > West Ham To Spurs) Berbatov (£10m to Spurs from Leverkusen).

    No one is disputing Ferguson's record, but he gets it very wrong on occasion. Quite why we didn't ask for first option on Sneijder when negotiating with Madrid about Ronaldo is a good question to ask.

    Ferguson is a lucky manager, but there's nothing wrong with that because he's been a brave manager too when taking a gamble on players like Eric. But some United fans wear rose tinted specs and they will not accept any criticism of our illustrious leader.

    As Dave has pointed out the bad buys are not restricted to those I've listed.

    United are going backwards and unless Ferguson finds the money to buy the right players we will continue to fall behind.

  22. The news that Fergie is happy with his squad now is so clear that United had no money to spend. We are going down the path to become like Liverpool. No one to replace VDS,Giggs,Scholes,Neville. Owen and Berbatov are old. Carrick and Anderson unclear. Hargreaves might not come back anymore. I dont see why we dont get any new signing anymore.

  23. On a slightly different topic, I was gutted to find out today that Danny Simpson signed for Newcastle back in January. How can Fergie let such a talent go?! He's a good crosser of the ball and has proved ot be good in defence. Certainly a lot more reliable than the irrational, unpredictable Rafael da Silva.

  24. SO' James do you still think we SHOULD sign joe cole this summer? and you'll consider that we're IN Big Trouble if FAIL (again)? LOL!!


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