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Villa continue recruitment drive with deal for former England star

| 10.06.2014

Aston Villa look set to continue the strengthening of their squad this summer with the signing of former England international Joe Cole on a free transfer.

The midfielder will swap the claret and blue of West Ham for that of the Villa Park outfit on a two-year contract should he come through a medical.

The Villans flirted with relegation for much of the 2013-14 campaign and Paul Lambert is desperate to add some vital experience to his young squad.

Former Arsenal and Fulham defender Philippe Senderos has already joined the club in a bid to bolster Lambert’s defensive options but the former Norwich boss believes the experienced Cole can play a vital role for his side in the Premier League.

The London-born star did not hit the heights that saw him win 56 caps for England, who are 28/1 to win the World Cup, during an 18-month stay at Upton Park which saw him play just 35 times, scoring just five goals.

Watch Joe Cole score a wonder volley for England against Sweden at the 2006 World Cup:

Injuries played a key part in Cole’s lacklustre spell in east London but Lambert is prepared to take a gamble on a player who has won three Premier League titles, three FA Cups and two League Cups during his career.

The 32-year-old, who has played for Chelsea, Liverpool, West Ham and also enjoyed a loan spell at Ligue 1 side Lille, was targeted for a move to Loftus Road to join former mentor Harry Redknapp at Queen’s Park Rangers.

Cole also had plenty of options from abroad, in particular the MLS, but Aston Villa look set to have won the race with the former England international still believing he has plenty to offer the Premier League.

While Cole’s arrival at Villa Park will not raise expectations of a Premier League title (Villa are 2500/1 to lift the title), the former Chelsea forward will add experience to a vibrant squad who picked up wins over Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester City last season.

And if Lambert can get Cole back to something near his best Villa could see themselves surge into the top half of the table next season.

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Oliver Yew