Free Agent Carlton Cole An Interesting Prospect

Clive Rose

Recently released forward Carlton Cole has been linked to a move to MLS, perhaps even with the Fire. The English striker has a pretty good resume, great size and an all-encompassing skill set. Can he and Mike Magee make for an interesting pairing up front? Time will tell if he’s serious about coming to Chicago. Until then, he’s an intriguing free agent for the rumor mill

Cole began his career with Chelsea, but really made a name for himself playing for West Ham. He scored 59 goals in 237 appearances, averaging roughly a goal every four games. A potential red flag is that Cole is coming off a career low (as a starter) 2 goals in the latest EPL campaign. On the plus side, the prior year he did score 15 goals in the Championship, which is more on par with MLS.

Sporting a 6ft 3in frame, Cole is a fantastic header of the ball, and all around good finisher. He’s scored plenty of short range goals, and has a nice touch from distance. With Mike Magee in the fold the onus would not be entirely on Cole to score, but he can be the consistent hold up striker the Fire have lacked this season.

Frederic Piquionne, currently of the Portland Timbers was a teammate of Cole’s for a time at West Ham. He would often play behind or alongside the Englishman. If you feel Piquionne is MLS caliber, then Cole would probably rate just as well if not better. Robert Earnshaw, although supplying a different skill set, translated his success in England’s lower divisions to MLS with Toronto FC. Having played with West Ham, Cole’s experience came against the best opposition, arguably in the world, for a much longer time.

Rumored wages have come in at $1.5 million annually, offered by the Fire but that number is far from official. Newly promoted Hull City have an interest in Cole as well, and they likely have much deeper pockets. We’ll have to wait and see if Cole is willing to leave his home country and the prospect of one more year in the Premier League, to come over to the U.S and hopefully grow MLS and possibly the Chicago Fire brand.

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