West Ham United can confirm that Craig Bellamy has joined Manchester City for an undisclosed fee and has signed a four-and-a-half year contract.

Having expressed his desire to secure a move away from the Boleyn Ground during meetings with manager Gianfranco Zola and CEO Scott Duxbury on Friday morning, Bellamy did not train on Saturday and was not selected for Sunday's 3-1 home win against Fulham which moved the club up to eighth place in the Barclays Premier League.

Speaking this evening about Bellamy's departure, Zola said: "I wish him all the best and I hope he does well and finds what he is looking for. I am very happy with what he has done for me and now he has decided to go somewhere else.

"We wanted to keep him but he wanted a new challenge and we respect that. For our fans, I can say again that we want to achieve a high level so we are looking for players that can help us make that happen."

Bellamy travelled to Manchester on Monday and the deal to allow him to join his eighth club in nine years was concluded after he passed a medical. The striker, who will be 30 in July, cost West Ham United £7.5m in July 2007 and he went on to play in 24 league games, scoring seven goals.

West Ham United CEO Scott Duxbury said: "We wish Craig well for the future and thank him for his efforts. We had refused him permission to talk to Tottenham last week and were determined to keep him despite repeated interest from them and Manchester City. However, on Friday, he again made it clear to the manager and myself that he wanted to move on.

"Late on Sunday night, Gianfranco and I met and he said it was in the best interests to accept the player's request to leave and therefore Manchester City's bid. I agreed with this so that we could focus our energies on bringing in exciting players who want to play for the club and who will improve the squad."