Stamford Bridge close in on Anfield bit part player.
Chelsea have paved the way for Joe Cole’s departure from Stamford Bridge by formalising their interest in the Liverpool midfielder Yossi Benayoun, with the Israeli confident a transfer can be completed over the next week.
An opening bid of £4m is understood to have been knocked back by the Merseyside club, though they have offered Chelsea encouragement that an improved offer of about £6m will secure the 30-year-old. Carlo Ancelotti is keen to sign the Israel international after talks with Cole’s representative over a new deal reached an impasse, with the midfielder now expected to leave under freedom of contract next month.
Tottenham Hotspur, with a potential Champions League campaign ahead, remain favourites to secure Cole under the Bosman ruling, ending his seven-year stay in south-west London since a £6.6m move from West Ham United. The 28-year-old had hoped to gain an increase on his weekly wage to £100,000, but Chelsea are set upon restructuring financially and did not offer him improved terms.
Cole has not had a regular first?team place at the Double winners under Ancelotti, and Benayoun will have to accept life as a squad player as well. His own fortunes at Liverpool dipped somewhat towards the end of last season to mirror those of the team, with his relationship with the manager, Rafael Benítez, steadily deteriorating to the point where Liverpool effectively sanctioned his departure in the closed season.
The move is surprising given that Benayoun, who had also attracted tentative interest from his former club West Ham United and Spurs, is two years older than Cole in a squad that is already considered to be ageing, though he does have pedigree in the Premier League. (Guardian)
Yossi Benayoun is a good player. A player who Rafa Benitez has never really given a fair crack of the whip to and a player who whilst clearly a man who loves to play for the Anfield side will not hang around where he feels he is not wanted.
The Israeli has found first team opportunities limited and it seems that the 30 year old only gets a game when others are injured. Carlo Ancelotti will do well to snap up the former West Ham man and whilst he may struggle to impose himself on the first team set-up at Stamford Bridge he could find his chances of doing so at the west London club more likely and after three seasons of trying to prove himself to the Spanish boss he may feel now is the time to move on.
Liverpool fans will be sad to see Yossi leave as he always gave his all for the effort and has always been one of those players who appears to make things happen. Despite prolonged periods of inactivity at the Merseyside club he has amassed a healthy 29 goals in 81 starts.
Joe Cole appears closer to a Chelsea exit after contract talks appear at a impasse and it will be interesting to see where the England international finds himself once his current deal runs out in a matter of weeks. The likes of Tottenham and Manchester United have been linked with moves for the talented attacker.