Premier League

Joe Cole joins French champion Lille

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Liverpool midfielder Joe Cole has joined French champions Lille on a season-long loan deal.

The 29-year-old travelled to France yesterday to undergo a medical and, despite a late bid by Aston Villa, the player has opted to join the Ligue 1 club.

"Liverpool announced today it had finalised a deal with Lille OSC for the loan transfer of Joe Cole,'' said a club statement.

"The 29-year-old will now join the French champions for the remainder of the current campaign.''

The England midfielder has failed to impress at Anfield having moved on a free transfer from Chelsea last summer.

His high wages - reported to be £90,000 a week - in relation to his diminishing role on the pitch meant Cole was identified as one of the players who manager Kenny Dalglish would be willing to let go in the current transfer window.

Cole has not featured in the squad for any of Liverpool's four competitive matches so far and opted for a move to France after being attracted by the French club's Champions League status this season.

It was reported in France that Lille were prepared to allow Cole to continue living in England and commute the 90-minute journey from London to France by Eurostar, although it remains to be seen whether that will be an option.

"As we approach the closing of the summer transfer window, the LOSC, Liverpool and Joe Cole (29) have reached agreement for the loan of the England player,'' said a statement on Lille's website www.losc.fr.

"Cole has committed to the team for the rest of the season.

"With the arrival of England international Joe Cole, LOSC has clearly added to its squad both in quantity and quality.

"The club is pleased and proud that the challenges facing us and our project has attracted a player of this magnitude.''

Aston Villa had made a late bid to take Cole to the midlands but it was always going to be difficult as Liverpool had the option to loan him to a club who were not a Barclays Premier League rival, which was preferable.

Alex McLeish had been looking to add more creativity to his midfield but with little money at his disposal how Villa would have afforded the significant contribution to Cole's wages was open to question.

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