22 Aug 2011

£5m in wages; £157k per game; £1.2m per goal/assist - The true cost of JOE COLE

The transfer window slams shut in 8 days, and in my view, one of the priorities has to be getting Joe Cole off the payroll. The former Chelsea player (I'll never consider him to be an Liverpool player) has been a gigantic flop from day one, and the club has haemorrhaged an astonishing amount of money for practically no creative return.

The gross hyperbole surrounding Cole's signing last year was painful. Apparently, he was just the kind of player Liverpool needed to appease the likes of Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres; an experienced 'world class' (!) player who would exponentially improve the club's attacking threat in the final third. In fact, so amazing was Cole's signing that Gerrard was moved to compare him to Lionel Messi:

"Messi can do some amazing things, but anything he can do Joe can do as well, if not better. I really fancy Joe for the [player of the year] award this season"

Gerrard is clearly a fantasist; the last time I heard something as far removed from reality as that was when former LFC 'Striker' Sean Dundee claimed he was 'as fast as Michael Owen'.

Anyway, As I argued at the time, Cole was and is a gigantic waste of money, and only came to Liverpool to pad out his retirement fund (IMO). There's no such thing as a free transfer, and Cole will have received a huge signing-on fee (probably in the region of £3-£5m), and a gargantuan salary package.

And what has Liverpool got in return for such a huge financial outlay?

Practically NOTHING.

Cole is supposed to be a creative, attacking player, right? It follows then that the best way to judge him is to consider his specific, measurable creative contribution (SMCC) at Liverpool since signing. Let's look at the facts:

* 32 appearances
* 3 goals scored
* 1 assist
* 12 shots on target
* 25 fouls conceded


* 1 goal every 10.6 appearances
* 1 assist every 32 appearances
* One shot ON TARGET every 2.6 appearances

And as you can see, Cole's SMCC is negligible. Indeed, instead of providing a SMCC for Liverpool, Cole has spent more time giving away fouls.

Cole has been at Anfield for 56 weeks now. For the sake of argument, let's say he is earning £90k a week (a widely reported figure); that would put his total base earnings at £5.04m in just over 13 months. That equates to:

* £157.5k per appearance.
* £1.2m for each goal and assist so far.

Nice work if you can get it! And this is not even factoring in the signing-on fee and various bonuses, which would make the above figures look even more ridiculous.

With these figures in mind it's clear to see why Liverpool must move Cole on at the earliest opportunity. Apparently, QPR are interested, with Neil Warnock stating today that the club 'can probably afford 30 or 40 per cent of his wages now'.

Cole should do the decent thing and take a pay-cut to move to QPR, especially if he actually cares about playing regular football and saving his career. 30-40k is still a huge amount of money, and it's not like he's done anything to earn anything more than that.

If Cole refuses to move, even if it's just on loan, it will confirm for me what I've argued from the start: he's just a money-grabbing mercenary (like most top-level footballers).

Jaimie Kanwar


  1. Agree entirely. I had serious doubts about the signing at the time. The telling factor was that the Chelsea fans were mote than happy to see him go. The signing was, in my opinion, Roy Hodgson trying to show he was a manager who could attract a 'big name'

  2. Chelsea fan here, and to be honest the only reason we were slightly upset to see him leave was because hewas alright on his day, but was NEVER a starter under 5 quality managers, which to be honest tells you something. I was slated incredibly by my Liverpool mates with the reply being your upset because he's quality and such things as you'll see, if Stevie G says he's as good as Messi he will be amazing for us. Sad to see him flop completely, but it was pretty expected by most Chelsea fans, the only other downside was that he was English so naturally wanted to see him suceed. 

  3. I said it at the time and was rudely shouted down most times - the guy had no position, no pace, no power, a history of injury problems and was approaching the end of his career, yet everybody was so excited about his signing. Much like with Robbie Keane.

    Football may not be as simple as it is made to look in the video games, but it doesn't need to be as difficult as managers at the top clubs so regularly make it look...

  4. I agree with Jaimie regarding Joe Cole.   As a Chelsea supporter I am not surprised
    Joe wanted a new contract at Chelsea which was reported as
    4 years and a minimum of 100,000 a week.   He turned down Chelsea's offer of 80,000.
    The truth is he didn't warrant even 40,000 because he had played very poorly in my estimation for at least a year (some of the time he was injured to be fair to him)
    But to be honest I thought he considered himself a better player than he actually was.  But I wish him well wherever he turns up, but not at Chelsea. 

  5. Absolutely disagree, as with many of Liverpools creative players, they have not been allowed to flourish, in the case of Cole, never been given the role he is known for, i.e. attracking central midfielder and to this day, was still never given that berth.
    Most of this is down to the fool Hodgson destroying his confidence, and if you know anything about football, you will know, that creative players, more than any others suffer badly when they have no confidence, when they have it, nothing can stop them (see Messi).
    The same is true of Aquaman, Hodgson destroyed his confidemce, and unfortunately, for Liverpool the same accusation is now being pointed at Kenny, Liverpool just have a problem with creative players.
    I mean look at us now, with have Suarez who will thrive on the creativeness of a Cole, Aquaman, Merieles (case in point, see Saturday), but we are still using the route one of Carroll and Downing, we didn't win against Arsenal because of Carroll & Downing, we won because of creativeness of Suarez and Raul M, and a huge slice of luck in the arse losing a player, before then, absolutely no clue.
    I really had hoped Kenny had learnt from the stupid mistakes that Hodgson had made, but his line ups are devoid of creativity and any that we have is being moved on, leaving us with Raul M and Adam to carry the can, but only Raul M is an attacking midfielder and I will argue that on their day, both Aquaman and Cole are the equal, if not the better of the players Liverpool keep.
    One day Liverpool will wake up and see that Man U rule the roost because of the diversity of play they use, the sort of play that is acheived by a balance of creativity and route one.
    You have to look at the players that have made the biggest impact in football, Messi, Cantona, Bergkamp, Zola, Zidane, the list goes on, what do they have in common? They were all creative attacking midfielders, every great team needs one....except for Liverpool, which is why they will not be great until they recognise as much.

  6. At the end of the day no-one knows how or if a player will settle. I for one was pleased when we signed Joe Cole because he's a creative player and can carry the ball forward and beat a man. Over the last few seasons in the premiership when Cole was in form he ofen hurt us in matches. Now it hasn't worked out but that doesn't make Joe Cole a mercenary. 

    First off if a player is talented and has ability why shouldn't he fight to command a premium for his skill and talent? Football players generally have a career up to age 35 or so and so I can understand them wanting to maximise their earnings while they can. This whole notion of player loyalty is a fallacy think about the same fans that will moan about fabregas going to barcelona will have no problem with Arsenal going out and poaching jagielka from Everton if they can? 

    Joe Cole has the right to wait for the right club that works for him and his family regardless of whether LFC want him out.

  7. Hi James.  I was also slated for daring to question the wisdom of Cole's signing, but to anyone being objective, it was obvious that he was never going to cut it (especially with his injury history). I agree that in the past, on his day, Cole sometimes did the business, and it would've been great if he'd replicated that form for Liverpool, but he hasn't, which is a shame.  I still think he can rescue his career by going to a lower-level club and really putting in the effort but it doesn't seem like he has the appetite for that.

  8. Totally agree, Jay.  Football is essentially a very simple game; I hate the way people try and intellectualise it and make out that only a select few are capable of understanding how things work.

  9. Hi John.  Agree re Cole's opinion of his own ability; what exactly was wrong with 80K a week?  I think that's a more than fair estimation of his worth by Chelsea.  Holding out for more seems to suggest he thinks he's worth more than he actually is.

  10. I'm not saying that the signing of Joe Cole has worked out the way we hoped, however I think this article is a bit one sided.
    How many minutes of football has he played. Appearances could be anything from 5 minutes to a full match. You should also compare him to similar players to put his wages into perspective.
    Finally you seem to be blaming Joe Cole for this.... First of all the decision to sign him was made by the manager at the time (no reason to go down that road again) and secondly he never really did get the chance to prove his worth on the pitch. I know that we don't see how the players do in training, but as far as I'm concerned Joe Cole isn't to blame. You can blame the people who signed him, but I doubt that Joe Cole is contempt with the situation as it is.
    And I understand perfectly well that he's not interested in taking such a big wage drop - who would be?

  11. there was a reason why he was never really first choice at Chelsea and you are begining to see it. the occasional flash brilliance is just not enough in todays game!
    He stood out as a medium fish in a pond of small fish at West Ham but in a pond full of big fish he has been found out. pool and cjhels
    joe was always popular at CFC but porbably because he was a life long chelsea fan rahter than what he actually did.

  12. Interesting points, Mark.  Totally agree with you re the Arsenal game - good win but for most of the game we looked devoid of creativity.  It took an own goal and a sending off to put us in a position to win against a transitional Arsenal team.

    Agree also about Aquilani - he's here, so why not use him?  he looked good in preseason so why not capitalise on his current good form? Wenger used Nasri, and Liverpool should've followed that example.

    I have to disagree about Cole though; he's offered practically nothing for Liverpool in the last year; he just doesn't have it anymore; injuries have taken their toll, and he's lost what little pace he had in the past.

  13. The premiss of this piece is nonsense. It posits itself as 'the true cost of Joe Cole...' but the calculations are deeply flawed. (The whole thrust of the piece in terms of content is also flawed. What Mark says in response is absolutely right.)
    But, just focusing on the numbers, what's been forgotten is that Cole was bought on a free and that would have to be factored in for anything remotely meaningful.
    If its costs you wish to look at then consider £35M for Carroll, who is simply not that good. (Yes, it was related to the inflated price for Torres, but that isn't relevant to an argument about value for money.)
    Just a couple more examples: £20M (approx) for each of Jordan Henderson and Stewart Downing, neither of whom will prove good value. More has been spent on both of these before even they set foot on the pitch. And when they do, there'll not be much creativity. Each is a limited player, and while Downing did improve at Villa he still tends to be a nearly man; he may nearly score goals but near misses don't count. And his approach play is predictable.
    For all the bluster about beating Arsenal, that win was the product of various bits of luck rather than anything else.
    How about getting off Joe Cole's back? He has had injuries, but also he hasn't been given a fair chance. Those who say he's happy just to take the wages are wide of the mark by a long way. Cole wants only to play, and it's my guess he's deeply unhappy not playing (and about being totally misunderstood in this respect.)

  14. and you have just put off every potential buyer with this article. congrats....

  15. @Mark, I agree with your comments about Liverpool and creativity (why on Earth are we the only 'top team' that prioritises work rate and off the pitch attitude over actual tangible characteristics such as technique and athleticsm, as if just running lots of kms is going to win us the league!) but I have to disagree about Cole - when has he last played regularly as an attacking central midfielder, and even then was he better than his competition (Gerrard) for the same role?

    Hodgson gave him games and Cole just had nothing to offer - he doesn't have the strength or movement to give him space in the centre of the pitch and doesn't have the pace to be effective out wide. I even watched him playing in the reserves and he still looked the exact same player that was a yard off of the pace for the first team.

    Liverpool need to get him off the books permanently asap. Sending him on loan will just see him return another year down the line, but with other teams even more reluctant to pick up any of the wages that would be owed to him for the next 3 years...

  16. I agree with cole he has to be moverd on to say that Kenny doesn't know what hes doing is rubbish though, and I personally think he got it spot on for the arsenal game. There is no way Suarez or meireless could have kept up 90 minutes for different reasons (Suarez fatigue as shown last weak and meireless through lack of match fitness). So he sends out a britsh gritty team that would run arsenal ragged for 70 minutes then bring on Suarez and meireless to kill the game. People are saying it was the own goal that did it, well yes to a degree it was but why was the own goal there in the first place?? Simply because they couldn't deal with both of them and they ran them even harder than they had just been run for the first 70 minutes. Aqualani should definatly be in the team and has just recently been given a new squad number so maybe... People taking credit away from carroll and downing i feel is unjust as they put in the first 70 minutes of leg work that knackered the team out. Put all this together with the fact that they have only played 2 games so far and I think people are being too judgemental far to quick. We are unlikely to take the title this year but should cruise into the top four. With CL under our belt we will then sign the players needed to truely assualt the premiership then watch out fergie cos liverpool may very well start to dominate football in england again for a long time to come

  17. <p><span>This looks quite similar to the article you posted in December 2010, with just a few words and numbers changed. Disappointing and lazy journalism. </span>
    </p><p><span> </span>
    </p><p><span>F</span><span>or years people have complained that Liverpool don't have a strong enough squad. Now, we have reasonable depth and players like Joe Cole are trying to fight for a place in the team. </span>
    </p><p><span> </span>
    </p><p><span>I would rather keep players like Cole and make sure that there are players competing for all places in the squad. We don’t have that many wide players unless we play people playing out of their best position.</span>
    </p><p><span> </span>
    </p><p><span>We have just signed Doni to provide some competition and cover for Pepe Reina. We still have Brad Jones and will likely keep Jones until one of the younger keepers is ready to challenge for a higher position in the pecking order. He'll probably go out on loan where he can be recalled if needed. We could work out Jones's cost and map this against appearances. It's naive to try and measure a players cost and contribution in such a simplistic way. </span>
    </p><p><span> </span>
    </p><p><span>We should only look at reducing the competition for places where we have too many players in one position or if we need to reduce the wage bill. In my opinion, we should only sell Cole when we buy, or promote from the reserves, another wide player to replace him.</span>

  18. Totally agree with you about getting him off the wage bill sooner rather than later. But dont agree with you calling Gerrard a fantasist???? I think Gerrard knows a player when he see's one!! Cole is a player with great skill and in training looks like a worldy and other world class players who have watched him in training have said the same. The game has always been full of players that are full of skill on the training pitch yet cant produce the goods on the pitch (E.g. Jocky Hansen said Paul Walsh was the best player he'd ever seen on the training pitch) Unfortunately managers have never been able to get it out of him and right now we are paying the price, literally. JFT96

  19. A lot of people seem to think Joe Cole lacked pace, he never really had any, there is only one attacking midfielder I know of in modern football that has pace ally to his creativity, and that is Messi, Aguero is the next best thing.
    A creative midfielder is the ability to spot a pass, see something others do not see, to open up passes long or short, to beat defences with a through ball, the play in other players, this is where Cole showed his potential, yet we had him galloping up and down the flanks, he never had the engine for that and would tire quickly, he was never a winger.
    I agree, he needs to go, but only because his confidence is now so shot, he may never be able to offer anything to anyone ever again, it's not that he is a shadow of the former player he was, his game intelligence will always be with him, but unlike Aqua, he has been left to rot, Aqua showed his worth at Juve and pre-season, Cole never got the same luxury.
    As much I did not want to mention it, does anyone here believe that Torres best days are over, like Cole, he became disillusioned with Liverpool, a team that was going nowhere, he suffered as Cole did, but Torres will find his way back, the lot of a striker is a bit easier in that it might take just one goal to get them going, not so true with a creative midfielder, they have to have the feeling of being in control of being dominant in what they do, the feeling they can beat anyone and our the best at what they do, without it, they offer nothing.
    So while we might deride Cole, he has not been treated fairly by Liverpool from the start, his reputation is in tatters and so is his career, and I know where I lay the blame for that (RH), Chelsea fans were'nt fussed about him going, because yes, they are many better players than him that they can afford to buy, Liverpool did not and still does not, have the money to compete for those players, we settled on Cole as he was someone we could go for and give us what we so desperately needed, only for RH to lose his head and resort to believing Liverpool are Fulham and should be treated like relegation battlers, so when you have a team playing defensive football, what use do you have for an attack minded creative midfielder?
    It remains to be seen whether Cole will have an impact somewhere else, time has caught up on him, he needs better players to give him time to get his confidence back, he won't get that at QPR.
    He has never been a bad player, and Stevie G saw his potential, he has good balance like Messi, he has good feet like Messi, he is fairly strong, he has vision, he just doesn't have the same self belief.

  20. Joe needs to go, someone will do in a last minute deal that forces our hand. Maybe we'll pay him off and he'll accept a move (QPR most liekly)

    The fanfare that accompanied his arrival epitomises how desperate Liverpool fans were at the time

    In everyone's minds I think Joe was still the precocious teenager playing for West Ham

    Harsh red card on debut started him off on the wrong path, but as previous posters have pointed out, Joe was only the cherry on top of the icing at Chelsea. A luxury in a very strong team

  21. I don't buy that Dave, running a team ragged is a massive gamble to make, true, Liverpool were in control for large periods, but didn't have anything to show for it, you could see the frustration etched on Carroll's face, despite having possession, Liverpool were not serving up a threat.
    To believe that Kenny's game plan was to tire them out works well if the posession was massively Liverpool's and that the Arse defence was under constant bombardment, but the game was panning out for a draw, and it could easily be said at 0-0 it can go either way, I don't believe Kenny is foolish enough to play a containing game against Arsenal, they are a team you have to give your all against, no matter who is playing for them, they still have the ability to hurt you.
    Frimpong being sent off helped a lot, the Arse became tired, but not for one second do I believe Kenny sensed weakness here, I think he had it in mind to bring on Suarez and Merieles anyway, mostly, because he saw how the team slumped and tired in the 2nd half against Sunderland, so he knew these 2 would lift the team, but that would not have guaranteed a win against the Arse, end of the day, it was a good result, but if anyone really believe it was won because of the first 11 players doing it, then you need to watch the game again....at the end of the day, they weren't convincing, but it's much to early to be too critical of Liverpool.
    I do like that Liverpool are sticking with, by and large, the same 11, finally giving the team some time to gel, but they need Merieles to start more and for Suarez to come on a little earlier, personally, I would play Maxi up there with Carroll, he will do a lessened version of the damage Suarez can do, when he's given them enough of a run around, then bring on Suarez to really torment them, mostly, because for right now, Carroll just looks to be a more expensive version of Heskey, but what point is there having a man who can bring a ball down and play others in, when there are no others to play in? And Carroll really does not look like he is going to be prolific.

  22. Oh my god this trash site is back up

  23. I would say the real fury should go to the person(s) who signed Cole on such a long & lucrative contract.

    I mean, why shouldn't he have taken the offer from Liverpool last summer??

    So basically, Roy Hodgson showed what a rubbish manager he was going to be in just 20 days by getting Cole (and that's even before we start to talk about Konchesky & Poulsen!!)

  24. Roy Hodgson should rightly take the blame he signed him and proved to be our worst manager in over 60 years in terms of results. I told Jaimie Kanwar this at the time, but Jaimie wouldnt listen. Not trying to say told you so Jaimie, but the facts are there for all to see.

  25. Chelsea fan - Joe Cole hardly ever played as an attacking mid - occasionally in his first season and 3 or 4 games max in next 6 years.  Whoever said he has no position is right.  never cutting edge enough for a forward, never industrious enough for elsewhere.  He played as one of the widemen in the 433s that everyone thinks Mourinho used all the time (actually just half the time) but only rotating as 3rd choice with the superb younger Duff and Robber.  I don't think he was ever used as top of diamond in 442 - that would be madness.

    Great skill - absolutely zero vision.  Occasionally with Drogba charging towards a high offside line and screaming he'd play perfect defence splitting balls, but given a choice he got confused.
    Not missed

  26. good to see Chelsea agent J 008 Cole doing WELL at liverpool.. keep up the good work

  27. As a Chelsea fan, letting him go on a free is probably one of the best pieces of business the club has done in recent years. No Chelsea fan as far as I know misses him but is only dismayed that the club hasn't brought in a decent replacement.

  28.  Joe Cole is quality. It is not his fault that PL teams have no place for him. France suits him. Let him be.