Jean Marc Bosman started it all
Joe Cole signed a four-year contract with Liverpool today. It’s been rumored that he will be making about 90k pounds per week. The transfer, however, was free. He’s 28 years old and in the last 18 months has been injury-prone. Often thought of as the most creative English midfielder in the past 8 years, his stock has dropped considerably since the ’06 World Cup in Germany. So the question is, “Is he worth it?” and what makes a player worth “it” these days?
In the US, free agency in baseball, basketball, football, etc. (the soccer equivalent is called a Bosman), is the main form of players moving from club to club. Often they do trades, but the majority of the time the club from which the player leaves does not get reimbursed.
In the soccer world, free agency is much rarer. A player is either signed to an extension, offered a new contract, or sold to another club within 18 months to a year remaining on their contract.
When a player is sold, for say 20 million pounds, the club receives that money. The player (actually his agent) then negotiates his own personal wages. This information is public, but rarely the focal point of the news surrounding the transfer.
Will Joe Cole and other potential signings keep this Nando in red?
So is Joe Cole worth it?
In this case yes, very much so. This is a very similar situation to United signing Michael Owen last year. The big difference is Liverpool expect a lot more out of Cole then Ferguson did from Owen.
Cole is going on the downside of his career, but his skill cannot be denied. A rising star with West Ham, he transferred to Chelsea as they began their recent dominance in the league. He was one of the stars that brought the first of three recent titles to the London club. He also cemented himself into the England side providing a creative spark that had been missing since Gascoigne left.