The transfer window may be shut, but West Ham look set to continue to add to their squad after the club confirmed that former striker Carlton Cole is undergoing a medical with the club today.
The 29-year-old was released by the Hammers at the beginning of the summer, but he was linked with a return to the club throughout the summer as manager Sam Allardyce seeked a partner for new record-signing Andy Carroll, who turned his loan move into a permanent one.
An official club statement on their website read: “The Club are pleased to announce that popular striker Carlton Cole is also undergoing a medical today with a view to returning to the Boleyn Ground on a short-term deal.”
Cole left the club after seven seasons with the Hammers, having joined from Chelsea in 2006 after failing to break into their first team. He made a total of 239 appearances for the east London side, although he looks set to add to that tally should he complete his move.
As Cole is currently a free agent, West Ham are within their right to sign the player after the transfer window deadline, while Cole appears to have chosen a return to familiar waters despite being linked with a move to other clubs around the world.
He had been reported to be gaining interest from Hull City manager Steve Bruce earlier in the summer as well as Crystal Palace boss Ian Holloway, while links also emerged over a move to Ligue 1 side St Etienne.
But any move during the transfer window failed to transpire, and with Allardyce failing in his bid to bring in one more striker, it appears he will act to bring Cole back to the club.
The statement continued to suggest both Allardyce and co-owner David Sullivan were trying to bring in an extra player right until the 11pm deadline last night.
“Despite the Board and manager deciding to do their business early on in the window to avoid last-minute panic buys - resulting in the successful signings of Andy Caroll, Stewart Downing, Razvan Rat and Adrian - Joint-Chairman David Sullivan and manager Sam Allardyce did spend all night on Monday trying to sign one of three international strikers, but all opted for the lure of European football instead,” the statement read.
“Importantly, the Board also turned down bids for several first-team players in the last week of the window as they are determined to give the squad the best chance possible of bettering last season's tenth-placed Premier League finish.”
One of those strikers is believed to have been Chelsea’s Demba Ba, who played for the Hammers in 2001 before moving to Newcastle on a free transfer. Both Arsenal and Tottenham had made an enquiry to the Blues over his availability in a season-long loan, but it is believed that the club rejected any approach as they did not want to strengthen a Premier League title rival.
However, it was reported that the Blues accepted an offer from another Premier League club – believed to be West Ham – but Ba’s desire to play European football scuppered any possible move and he remained at Stamford Bridge, with team-mate Romelu Lukaku the one to leave on loan instead as he moved to Everton.