Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Premier League

Carlton Cole to leave West Ham in the summer after club confirm contract will not be renewed

West Ham striker available on a free transfer but thanks the fans for their support over his seven year spell at the club

West Ham have confirmed that striker Carlton Cole will leave the club this summer after he was informed that his contract would not be renewed.

The 29-year-old posted several messages on Twitter yesterday and indicated that he had no future at the club, with West Ham confirming the news this morning.

Cole joined the Hammer’s from local rivals Chelsea in July 2006 and has made 237 appearances for the East London club, scoring 59 goals along the way. However, he only netted twice in 25 games this season, and manager Sam Allardyce decided it was best it Cole was allowed to move on from Upton Park.

"Carlton's contract has come to an end and we have decided not to renew that contract," said the former Bolton and Newcastle manager. "Carlton's need at his age is to be playing football as often as he can. From our point of view we felt it better that he found pastures new.

"We can only thank him for his outstanding commitment and service to West Ham United over the last seven years."

Cole played a key role in West Ham’s promotion from the npower Championship last year, where he scored 15 times including the first goal of the play-off final victory over Blackpool. Cole, who has had loan spells with Wolves, Charlton and Aston Villa while on the books at Chelsea, thanked the West Ham fans for their support in a series of messages.

"Life is filled with ups & downs today is adown but I'll be back! Carlton Cole/CFC as I have been called has left the building £UNDERCHUFFED," he wrote on Twitter yesterday.

"I want to thank the West Ham fans for their support especially the 1's who made the away games feel like a home 1 £COYI.

"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 £THANKYOU."

Cole’s departure leaves Allardyce short on attacking options, and he will have been worried further when Andy Carroll, who is currently the subject of a £15m move to remain at Upton Park following a successful loan spell this season, withdrew from the England squad with a foot injury.

Should the injury prove serious, it may force Allardyce to switch transfers targets, thought he has already secured the signing of Romanian captain Razvan Rat on a one-year deal.

The Hammers also confirmed they are in talks to extend the contract of midfielder Gary O'Neil.

"For Gary, negotiations are ongoing and that will be done between the chairmen and his agent now," Allardyce added.