COLE WILL LEAVE

West Ham have confirmed that striker Carlton Cole will leave the club at the end of the season. The 29-year-old striker was out of contract and the club has not decided to renew the deal.

This will bring an end to the seven-year stay at Upton Park for the former Chelsea striker. Cole has been an important player for West Ham over the years, but the arrival of Liverpool striker Andy Carroll – on a loan deal – reduced the number of first-team opportunities this season. His form has also suffered as well, as he has scored just two goals in the Premier league season that just concluded.

His future at the club appeared to be in doubt after the club announced the deal with Liverpool to sign Andy Carroll on a permanent basis for around £ 15 million. West Ham manager Sam Allardyce has said that Cole should be playing regularly at 29 years of age, and he will move on in life in search of the same. The striker said that life always has ups and downs, but he is confident of bouncing back strongly. Meanwhile, West Ham have announced that they have been conducting contract talks with midfielder Gary O'Neill for the last couple of weeks and they expect a decision soon.

"Carlton's need at his age is to be playing football as often as he can. We felt it better he found pastures new," said Allardyce. "Life is filled with ups and downs - today is a down but I'll be back! Carlton Cole has left the building. I came to east London not knowing what to expect but I'm glad I did. The last 7 years I've met a lot of good honest decent people. Thank you," said the striker's official Twitter account. West Ham chairman David Gold thanked Cole for his services to the club.

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