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Joe Cole Would Have Been Magic At Old Trafford

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Think back to the summer of 2003. That great summer when Manchester United the newly crowned champions of England signed Cristiano Ronaldo for just over £12 million as well as recruiting David Bellion, Eric Djemba-Djemba, Kleberson and Tim Howard.

Now of course only one of those players – you know who it is – turned out to be a true legend of the club whilst the others with the exception of American keeper Howard turned out to be complete flops. However it could have all been so different.

That same summer saw Roman Ambramovich buy Chelsea from Ken Bates saving a club that was on the verge of going bust. One of the first signings financed by the Russian was Chelsea’s £6.6 million capture of talented England midfielder Joe Cole from newly relegated neighbours West Ham.

How fitting it is then that this weekend West Ham – United’s opponents in the FA Cup Third Round – have re-signed none other than Cole from Liverpool on an 18-month contract.

When the Hammers were relegated in 2002/03, they were deemed a side ‘too good to do go do down.’ Of course the table doesn’t lie but how a side containing the likes of Freddi Kanoute, Paulo Di Canio, David James, Jermain Defoe and Michael Carrick went down was at the time rather baffling.

Upon relegation Cole was linked with all of the country’s top teams. He went to Chelsea of course, winning 11 major honours there including 3 Premier League titles across the space of 7 seasons before he became one of Roy Hodgson’s first signings at Liverpool in 2010.

But imagine how different things would have been had say United not wasted £10 million on the likes of Djemba-Djemba and Kleberson that summer. Both players were young and promising but were they really what United needed?

Kleberson cost £6.5 million from Athletico Paranese. Incredibly he cost £100k less than Cole who would have brought energy, vision, hunger and a great work-ethic to a United midfield that would decline very noticeably in quality over the next couple of seasons.

Of course the move to Chelsea enabled Cole to stay in London with his family and who could blame him at the time from joining the Russian revolution at Stamford Bridge. At the time they were indeed a ‘great project’ and a club that were signing great players and on the cusp of winning trophies.

However had Ambramovich not come along and saved Chelsea, then United’s chances of signing the youngster would have increased dramatically and the future of one of West Ham’s favourite sons could have been oh so very different.

By Adam Dennehey @ADennehey87

1 thought on “Joe Cole Would Have Been Magic At Old Trafford”

  1. Joe Cole was a player who ultimately didn't fulfill his promise, and could have been much more than he has been. And he is now a has been.

    His performance today shows his value even as a fading force, creating 2 goals for his team but flitting in and out of the game.

    He will never be a legend.

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