Stoke target unaffected by doubts over his West Ham future

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Carlton Cole has strongly hinted that he is happy to stay at West Ham and boost their bid to return to the Premier League at the first attempt having failed to agree personal terms with suitors Stoke.

His current employers issued a statement on Friday defending Cole’s decision to snub the Europa League participants following claims that the reason that the deal fell through was that he was demanding too much money.

That has been followed by an interview on their official site in which he is hyped up as “the club’s second longest-serving player” and “one of the hardest workers at Chadwell Heath”, hinting that both parties have agreed to remain together.

He said: “I am as committed to West Ham as always. Unless I am told something different, I am a West Ham player and will be doing my all for the team.

“I want our fans to know, unless I am told anything different, I am as committed as ever to the team and getting the club back in the Premier League.”

The seven-time England striker had a tough time last season as the Irons were relegated, scoring just five Premier League goals but has averaged almost a strike every three starts during his five years at the Boleyn Ground.

Though supporters weren’t too concerned by reports of him leaving, it is perceived that both the drop in quality and working with a boss known for getting physical forwards firing in Sam Allardyce will favour the 27-year-old.

The Chelsea trainee is available to back at 16/1 to be Championship top goalscorer, a longer price than his new team-mate Kevin Nolan, who is ahead at 14/1 presumably on the basis that he is almost guaranteed to still be there.

Cole’s unwillingness to move to Stoke halts West Ham’s efforts to raise funds for further purchases however, and the fact that they haven’t been as busy as Leicester may be a reason why the two are joint title favourites at 9/2.

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