x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Liverpool eye West Ham's Carlton Cole

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City all made firm enquiries about the availability of the England forward.

Liverpool are weighing up the merits of a move for Carlton Cole, the West Ham United forward, in January.

Cole was West Ham's top-scorer last season but he has found himself out of favour under Avram Grant, the coach who replaced the sacked Gianfranco Zola in the summer.

Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur and Stoke City all made firm enquiries about the availability of the England forward, 26, towards the end of the summer transfer window but West Ham were reluctant to sell. They felt the timing of the interest would have left them little time to find an adequate replacement and wanted more than the £9 million (Dh53,8m) fee that was being mooted.

The Hammers have since signed Victor Obinna and he has been partnering Frederic Piquionne, who joined on a three-year deal from Lyon.

With Benni McCarthy, the South Africa striker, working his way back to full fitness Cole could find himself fourth choice at Upton Park.

Fabio Capello, the England manager, remains an admirer of Cole and recalled him to his squad last month after the player narrowly missed out on making the World Cup squad.

Cole is well aware his international career could suffer if he remains on the periphery at the Premier League's bottom team.

West Ham may also feel now is the time to cash in on the player they signed from Chelsea to generate funds for at least two new players in the new year.

Roy Hodgson, the Liverpool manager, favours deploying a strapping target man as the focal point of his attack.

Standing at 1.88m, Cole fits the profile Hodgson would be looking for and his pace and power could make him the perfect foil for Fernando Torres, who has cut an isolated figure at the apex of Liverpool's attack.

sports@thenational.ae