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Cole Returns to West Ham, Ba and Debuchy Complete Transfers

Joe Cole joined Premier League soccer team West Ham United on an 18-month contract after Liverpool allowed the midfielder to leave on a free transfer.

Cole, 31, started his career with the Hammers in 1998 before moving to Chelsea from where he signed for Liverpool in 2010.

“Coming back here brings back all the memories of the pitches I learnt to play on,” Cole said in comments published on West Ham’s website.

Liverpool paid the London-born player about 3 million pounds ($4.8 million) to terminate his contract, which had another 18 months to run, according to U.K. media reports.

Cole won three Premier League titles and three F.A. Cups during his seven-year stay with Chelsea. His move to Liverpool was less successful with the midfielder playing just 26 times in the league for the Reds. He spent last season on loan in France with Lille.

West Ham also signed Arsenal striker Marouane Chamakh on loan through the end of the season.

Chamakh, 28, had 14 goals in 67 games since joining Arsenal from Bordeaux in 2010. He’d fallen out of favor with Gunners manager Arsene Wenger the past two seasons, appearing in just 23 games with three goals.

“I think this is a very important move for me and I don’t want to waste any more time,” Chamakh said on West Ham’s website. “We played only one striker at Arsenal, so I didn’t play a lot. I hope to do so more with West Ham.”

European champion Chelsea said it had completed the transfer of Demba Ba, 27, from Newcastle after activating a 7.5 million-pound release clause in the striker’s contract.

“When the club who won the Champions League wants you, the decision is very easy,” Ba told his new team’s website. “This club is massive and that’s something that helped the decision a lot. It was not a hard one.”

Defender Mathieu Debuchy joined Newcastle from Lille for an undisclosed fee, signing a 5 1/2-year contract with the Premier League club.

“After many great years at Lille, I felt I was ready for a new challenge and cannot wait to play for such a big club in the best league in the world,” Debuchy said on Newcastle’s website.

The 27-year-old made more than 230 appearances in 10 seasons at Lille. He’s also played 12 times for the French national team.

Tottenham said it’s reached an agreement with Schalke midfielder Lewis Holtby to join the Premier League club in July. The London club gave no financial details in the statement on its website.

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