Cole excited by challenge ahead

Carlton Cole has expressed his delight at finally completing a move from Chelsea to West Ham United.

The 22-year-old put pen to paper on a four-year deal last night, just moments after landing at Stansted airport on a flight from Germany, and reveals that an unfortunate case of lost property led to the transfer process taking slightly longer than expected!

"I'm just relieved that everything is done and dusted now and that I can say I am a West Ham player," says Carlton. "There has been a lot of speculation about my future and where I was going, but I'm delighted to have finally signed.

"I've been out in Germany watching the World Cup, and unfortunately managed to lose my mobile phone, so it's been a bit frantic trying to communicate, but the main thing is that everything is completed now and I can look forward to making an impact at West Ham.

"For me, it's a fantastic opportunity to come to a big Club that is clearly moving forward. The manager had a great influence on my decision and obviously I know a few of the players from the England under-21 squad, so it was a move that really appealed to me.

"It's a young squad here and I'm just happy to be a part of it now. There's so much to look forward to, what with the UEFA Cup next season and the chance to progress in the Premiership, and I can't wait to get started."

Carlton also admits he is excited by the prospect of teaming up with his England under-21 colleagues Anton Ferdinand and Nigel Reo-Coker at Upton Park, and reveals that their influence played a part in persuading him to head across the capital from Stamford Bridge.

"I haven't managed to speak to either of them yet because of losing my phone!" he says, "but I'm sure I'll make contact with them now that I'm back in England, and I'm really looking forward to teaming up with them at club level.

"Whenever we've been away with England they are always telling me how great it is at West Ham and that I'd really enjoy playing here if I ever got the chance. I'm really excited about making that step now.

"Chelsea is all I've ever known, having been there since the age of 12, and it was quite emotional to leave the club, but I knew it was the right decision for my career and I thank them for allowing me to take this opportunity.

"It's a fantastic challenge and I'm so glad that West Ham came in for me. I'm looking forward to the start of pre-season training next week and I'm just determined to be a success at Upton Park."