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Joe Cole to Aston Villa: Former England midfielder completes free transfer to Villa after leaving West Ham

The club tweeted a picture of Cole wearing an Aston Villa shirt with confirmation of a deal followign shortly after

Former England midfielder Joe Cole has joined Aston Villa on a free transfer, the club have announced.

The 32-year-old was a free agent after being released by West Ham at the end of last season.

Cole, who has also played for Chelsea and Liverpool in his career and won 56 caps for England, has signed a two-year deal at Villa Park.Cole told AVTV: "I'm really excited. It all happened really quickly, I got a call maybe a week or 10 days ago and it just felt like it was a really exciting place to come at this moment."

Cole becomes Villa's second signing of the summer - former Arsenal defender Philippe Senderos arrived last week.

Manager Paul Lambert is hoping to revamp his squad after two seasons of battling relegation from the Barclays Premier League and Cole was impressed by the Scot's vision.


He said: "This is a massive club and there's a massive opportunity for the club to push on. That was the main factor.

"I spoke to the gaffer and we have similar views on football. He didn't need to sell the club but he explained what the view is for the future and, like I said, that was the main thing. When I spoke to the manager I knew I'd be signing.

"I'll be coming here and I'll be learning too. Obviously I'll bring my experience to the squad but you still learn every day and I want to learn.

"I know I'll learn from the manager, I'll learn from other players here and going forward together we want to get the best results for Aston Villa."

Further changes are also likely at Villa with owner Randy Lerner having put the club up for sale.

Former Sunderland and Ipswich manager Roy Keane has also been linked with a post on Lambert's backroom staff.

For Cole, the move offers a chance to prolong his career at the top level.

Cole has spent the past season and a half back at West Ham, the club where he first made his name after coming through their youth ranks.

He was regarded as one of the most gifted players of his generation and was snapped up by Chelsea for £6.6million in 2003.

He won three Premier League titles and became an England regular during a successful seven-year spell at Stamford Bridge but injuries eventually led to him falling down the pecking order.

A move to Liverpool to 2010 failed to reignite his career but he enjoyed a successful loan spell with Lille before taking up the opportunity to return to Upton Park.

He rejoined the Hammers on an 18-month deal but he played only a a bit-part role in the season just concluded.

He last started a Barclays Premier League last December, when he scored for West Ham in a 3-3 draw against West Brom.

Cole said: "So far I've been lucky enough to have a really good career but there's still a lot more I want to achieve. The fire is still burning in me.

"I want to play at the highest level and win things still and this club fits."