Cole goes north after snubbing Tottenham and Arsenal offers

Midfielder signs £90,000-a-week deal at Anfield in major coup for new manager

Joe Cole yesterday agreed a four-year deal worth £90,000 a week with Liverpool, despite failing to receive assurances from the club that Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres would not be sold this summer.

Cole, 28, chose Liverpool ahead of Arsenal and Tottenham after prolonged conversations with manager Roy Hodgson and managing director Christian Purslow. It is understood the question of whether Gerrard and Torres would still be at the club next season was raised during negotiations and the club were unable to give guarantees. Real Madrid were interested in Gerrard, although that has cooled, while Chelsea remain keen to sign Torres.

However despite the uncertainty concerning Liverpool's two biggest stars Cole decided his future lay at Anfield, and he joins on a free transfer from Chelsea where his contract ran out after seven seasons there.

Liverpool were the only club to meet Cole's wage demands, but the deal is being seen as a major coup for Hodgson, who replaced Rafa Benitez as manager earlier this month. The club felt Cole might be reluctant to move away from London, having spent his entire career in the capital with West Ham United and Chelsea. He also has recently had his first child with wife Carly, another reason perhaps for staying close to his roots.

Yet Cole has turned his back on London, and on Champions League football with either Arsenal or Tottenham, to switch to Anfield. Although the financial terms were important to him, it is understood that footballing considerations were the primary reason he chose Liverpool. His main aim was to find a club where he felt his talent would be given the best chance to flourish, and Cole believed that there would be fewer first-team opportunities at Spurs and Arsenal. Having won many trophies with Chelsea, the most important thing for Cole now is to play regularly.

The key element has been the involvement of Hodgson, who has promised the England midfielder he will have a fundamental role to play in his new team. Cole, who flew out to the club's pre-season training camp in Switzerland yesterday, will undergo a medical in the next 48 hours.

Cole joins Liverpool with Yossi Benayoun having gone the other way last month. Benayoun, who at 30 is two years older than Cole, signed for Chelsea for £5m to replace Cole. At face value it would appear that Liverpool have pulled off a brilliant deal – effectively trading Benayoun for Cole plus £5m. Chelsea however can point to the reduction in wages as off-setting the transfer fee, as Benayoun is paid around £55,000 a week.

Liverpool announced the signing with a brief statement yesterday on their website. It read: "Liverpool FC are delighted to confirm the signing of Joe Cole on a four-year deal. The England midfielder has agreed personal terms and will undergo a medical in the next 48 hours."

Former Liverpool players queued up yesterday to toast the acquisition of Cole from under the noses of Tottenham and Arsenal. Phil Thompson said: "I would have liked Benayoun to have stayed. He was a really good player but I tell you what, if I had a choice between Cole and Benayoun I'd take Joe Cole every time."

He hoped the news might make the likes of Torres, Gerrard and Javier Mascherano think again about possibly leaving. "I think the arrival of Joe Cole will tell them that all is not lost and Liverpool is still a big football club," Thompson said.

Ian Rush added: "I think this sends a sign out to Liverpool supporters that the club do mean business. It's a fantastic buy. When you look at what we've got attacking wise, we've got younger lads but we needed more experience and Cole brings that."

Cole is the first player signed by Hodgson, and joins Serbian international Milan Jovanovic, who was also a free transfer, as the two new faces at the club. Hodgson has agreed the sale of the Argentine international left-back Emiliano Insua to Fiorentina for £5m while winger Albert Riera is likely to be sold to Olympiakos for £4m. Hodgson has been told he will able to use the funds raised to strengthen, with a left-back remaining the top priority.

News
Emma Watson has become the latest target of the 4Chan nude hacking scandal
peopleThreats follows actress' speech on feminism and equality at the UN
Life and Style
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Life and Style
tech
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
Alan Bennett criticised the lack of fairness in British society encapsulated by the private school system
peopleBut he does like Stewart Lee
Sport
John Terry, Frank Lampard
footballChelsea captain sends signed shirt to fan whose mum had died
Arts and Entertainment
Rita Ora will replace Kylie Minogue as a judge on The Voice 2015
tv
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
Alan Turing, who was convicted of gross indecency in 1952, was granted a royal pardon last year
life
Arts and Entertainment
Sheridan Smith as Cilla Black and Ed Stoppard as her manager Brian Epstein
tvCilla Episode 2 review: Grit under the glamour in part two of biopic series starring Sheridan Smith
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Tennis player Andy Murray's mum Judy has been paired with Anton du Beke for Strictly Come Dancing. 'I'm absolutely delighted,' she said.
tvJudy Murray 'struggling' to let Anton Du Beke take control on Strictly
Life and Style
Vote with your wallet: the app can help shoppers feel more informed about items on sale
lifeNew app reveals political leanings of food companies
Sport
David Moyes and Louis van Gaal
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits