Cole signs new Hammers deal - potentially meaning end to Lambert speculation (From Basingstoke Gazette)
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Carlton Cole signs new West Ham deal - potentially meaning end to Lambert speculation
Updated 2:00pm Wednesday 15th January 2014 in Sport
West Ham have confirmed that striker Carlton Cole has signed a new 18-month contract with the club - meaning the Hammers may give up their pursuit of Rickie Lambert.
The 30-year-old returned to Upton Park on a short-term deal in October having originally been released from the club at the end of his previous contract.
With West Ham struggling for goals and with record signing Andy Carroll still sidelined, manager Sam Allardyce offered Cole a three-month deal to help get the club firing again.
The signing may well quell speculation that Rickie Lambert could move to the Hammers.
The England international has scored four goals in 11 Premier League fixtures since his return, including the opener in the vital 2-0 victory at Cardiff on Saturday that took the Hammers out of the relegation zone.
Cole, who originally moved to West Ham from Chelsea in 2006, became a favourite among the Hammers fans and his performances earned him a first England cap against Spain in 2009.
He scored the opening goal as West Ham beat Blackpool in the 2012 play-off final to return the the Premier League under Allardyce but only managed two goals throughout the whole of last season.
A summer move to Ligue 1 was believed to be in the offing, but after no move materialised, Cole returned to train with West Ham before penning a short-term deal, with Carroll and Mladen Petric both sidelined and fellow striker Modibo Maiga unable to carry the goalscoring burden alone.
Petric has since been released after his own short-term contract came to an end but Cole has been re-signed and will fight against a fit-again Carroll for the main striker's berth in Allardyce's side.
Despite offering Cole a new deal, Allardyce is likely to continue his pursuit of Monaco forward Lacina Traore, with a move for Inter Milan's Ishak Belfodil seemingly dead in the water.
Saturday's win at Cardiff was West Ham's first in the Premier League since November and, with Allardyce welcoming former club Newcastle to Upton Park this weekend, the Hammers need to continue to pick up points if they are to avoid dropping back into the bottom three.
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