July 20th, 2010
Steven Gerrard has welcomed Joe Cole to Liverpool – and dropped the biggest hint yet that he will also stay at Anfield.
Cole was confirmed as their big summer arrival on a free transfer from Chelsea
as they attempt to bounce back from their failure to qualify for the Champions League.
Last season’s woes have left the futures of Gerrard, Fernando Torres and Javier Mascherano in serious doubt.
But one-club legend Gerrard, who returned to pre-season training at Melwood on Tuesday away from the club’s tour of Switzerland, has now indicated that he is ready to commit his future to Liverpool.
He said: ‘I made it clear that I simply needed to concentrate on the World Cup and then have a decent holiday with my family.
‘I wanted the chance to meet Roy Hodgson privately and having done so I’m very impressed with his plans for the future of the team.
‘I’ve only returned to training today at Melwood with some of the other World Cup players, but I can’t wait for the new season to start.’
On Cole, he said: ‘It’s a great signing for us. I know Joe well through the England set-up and have seen first hand just how good a player he is.
‘He’s proved his ability over many years in the Premier League, sometimes against us – so it will be fantastic to play alongside him in a red shirt for Liverpool.
‘I’ve told him what a great club this is and I’m sure Joe’s the sort of exciting talent our fans will love to see.’
Jamie Carragher believes the arrival of Cole should be a warning to the rest of the Premier League.
Cole agreed terms on a four-year contract and flew to the club’s Switzerland training camp on Monday.
After a disappointing seventh-placed finish last season, and with no Champions League football to look forward to in the coming months, there was a concern Liverpool would struggle to attract top-quality signings.
However, Carragher believes the arrival of England international Cole shows those fears are unfounded.
‘It’s great news and it is a message that Liverpool mean business,’ said the 32-year-old, who joined Gerrard and Glen Johnson at Melwood.
‘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 here.
‘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.
‘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.
‘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.’
Midfielder Lucas Leiva was quick to welcome Cole to Liverpool.
The Brazilian said: ‘This is really good news for us. He has a lot of experience and I have great confidence that he will help us a lot. I’m sure he is going to help us play well and show the form he did so regularly for Chelsea.
‘He is a fantastic player, you could see what he did for Chelsea. For our fans, it is good that another English player is coming and they will feel good about it, as we do.’
Cole had similar offers on the table from Arsenal and Tottenham before agreeing his £80,000-a-week deal at Anfield.
Manager Roy Hodgson was delighted to bring in Cole, saying: ‘Yes, it pleases me first of all to get the player because it’s very important we try to improve our squad as much as we can in order to try and reach the high goals we’ve set ourselves.
‘But it also pleases me very much to hear the reaction of the people has been as positive as our reaction, so at the moment that’s perfect. Now, of course, it’s up to Joe to show on the field he is the right man.’
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