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ESPN FC Posted by ESPN staff
Jan 4, 2013

Joe Cole completes West Ham return

Joe Cole has completed his transfer to West Ham United from Liverpool, signing an 18-month contract at Upton Park.

Poor fitness and form have prevented Cole becoming a first-team regular at Liverpool
Cole is back where it all began

The move brings the former England midfielder back to the club at which he started his career.

Cole, 31, was signed for Liverpool from Chelsea by Roy Hodgson, but the move failed to work out and he later spent a year on loan at French club Lille.

He had also been linked with a switch to QPR - managed by his former Hammers boss Harry Redknapp - but said the lure of returning to Upton Park had been too strong.

The 2003 Hammer of the Year, who won the FA Youth Cup with the club in 1999, told West Ham’s official website: "It is a great move for me.

"Coming back here brings back all the memories of the pitches I learnt how to play on. This is where I learnt my trade, and I'm happy to have another chance to be here.

“I've always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons.

"The timing was right for me to come back, and I'm happy. I'm back in London and I'm delighted to be here. I want to be here and I want to make an impact.”

He praised current Upton Park manager Sam Allardyce, saying he had “done a great job with the team”.

“A few years ago the club was in a bad way, and Sam has done brilliantly,” he added.

"Sam didn't have to sell me the club for me to come back. For me, I have had 18 months at Liverpool where I haven't played much football, and Sam wants to play me.

“I'm going to need games to get back to my best, but I want to play football and come here and help the team to make an impact.”

Cole added: “The fans have always been great for me. I feel like I owe the club a little bit as well, because if it wasn't for West Ham I wouldn't be a footballer. This club's great youth-team coaches taught me the trade."

Allardyce said he was confident that Cole could get back to his best in the familiar surroundings of Upton Park, and told talkSPORT: "It's time to take Joe back to his hometown club, where he started, where he realised his dream, and give him the opportunity to start playing regular first team football again.

"Hopefully he can produce what we know he can. He's got 56 caps for England and is still just in his early 30s. He still has a long career ahead of him, and hopefully we can benefit.”

The manager said Cole’s versatility would give the Hammers plenty of options and added: “We’ll get him doing what he’s best at - getting on the ball to start opening up defences."

Cole scored on the last of his 42 appearances for Liverpool - only nine of those being Premier League starts - as they beat West Ham 3-2 at Upton Park last month.

A statement from the Anfield club said: “Everybody at LFC would like to wish Joe all the best for the future.”

On Thursday, it was reported that Cole had undergone his medical at Upton Park as the Hammers aimed to seal the move before midday on Friday ahead of Saturday's FA Cup tie with Manchester United.

It is understood Liverpool were prepared to pay Cole a negotiated settlement in order to get his estimated £100,000-a-week salary off their wage bill, and West Ham owner David Gold's son Jack tweeted on Thursday that he was “a WHU player once again”.

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