Anfield side close to sealing deal to sign Aston Villa winger.
Stewart Downing’s Liverpool transfer ‘may see Joe Cole join Aston Villa’
Talks between Aston Villa and Liverpool over the transfer of Stewart Downing also included preliminary discussions regarding the future of fellow England midfielder Joe Cole, it is being suggested.
Cole’s Liverpool future looks particularly bleak following the news that Downing will move to Anfield in a deal said to be worth up to £20million.
And this comes hot on the heels of Kenny Dalglish shelling a reported £30m on the combined midfield talents of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam.
The news of another arrival in his position leaves Cole in limbo, paving the way for Villa and the Reds to include the England international playmaker in their thoughts.
In confirming a deal to take Downing up the M6 Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner – who admitted the player had handed in a transfer request – confirmed the club are already lining up alternatives.
‘We believe there are replacements available in the market who can strengthen our squad,’ he added.
Despite discussing 29-year-old Cole, it is not thought he will move to Villa Park straight away in a swap deal with Downing – preferring to hold talks with his current club’s hierarchy first.
However, initial discussions between the clubs over Downing are said to have been ‘very amicable’ – leaving the way open for a return to the negotiating table at a later date, once Cole’s future is decided.
The midfielder only joined the Reds on a four-year contract from Chelsea last summer, having rejected offers from both Spurs and Arsenal.
Having already seen Ashley Young and Brad Friedel join Man United and Tottenham respectively, new Aston Villa boss Alex McLeish knows he is set to lose England international winger Stewart Downing and appears to be keen on bringing in Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole as part of any deal, a move that makes a great deal of sense.
The Villa Park side has already put in a bid to sign Charles N’Zogbia as a direct replacement for Downing but McLeish is looking to bring in Cole to add more creative force to his side, a link between midfield and attack and whilst there is no doubt that whilst the former Chelsea man is not the same player he was a few years ago, the 30 year old still has a lot to offer.
Kenny Dalglish barely used Joe Cole last season and it would be in everyone’s best interest if the attacking midfielder left to find regular first team football and at Villa Park he could re-ignite a career that first stuttered at Stamford Bridge after lengthy injury problems and then being dropped by Carlo Ancelotti led to a move to Anfield, which clearly has not worked out.
The signings of Jordan Henderson and Charlie Adam merely confirm that Cole will have little or no part to play in first team action next season and if he can be used as a make-weight in the move that brings Downing to Merseyside then that would help save Liverpool money whilst also removing the Londoner’s huge wage packet off the balance sheet.
Liverpool have offloaded Paul Konchesky and are reportedly fielding offers for Milan Jovanovic, Christian Poulsen and Emiliano Insua.