Midfielder Joe Cole has left Liverpool on a free transfer to return to his first club, West Ham, signing an 18-month contract with the East London club.
The 31-year-old former England international ends a miserable stay at Anfield in which he struggled with injures and fitness to impress a succession of Reds managers in Roy Hodgson, Kenny Dalglish and Brendan Rodgers.
The Hammers have now taken two Liverpool outcasts off the Reds hands in a matter of months, currently taking Andy Carroll on loan until at least the end of the season, with a view to a permanent deal.
“I’ve always loved West Ham and I hope I can give the club a few memorable seasons,” Cole said on rejoining the Hammers.
Cole made 42 appearances for Liverpool, scoring 5 goals, since joining on a free transfer in the summer of 2010.
He was loaned out to French side Lille during the 2011/12 season, making 38 appearances and netting 4 times, however his high wage demands meant Lille were unable to make the deal permanent.
It will come as a relief to Liverpool’s financial onlookers to see Cole’s departure, with his wages at £92,000 a week. However, he has reportedly received a £3m pay-off – still less than it would have cost over the remaining 18 month of his contract at Anfield.