LONDON – Kevin Nolan has completed his surprise move to relegated West Ham.
The 28-year-old midfielder has left Newcastle for an undisclosed fee, believed to be up to £4million, and agreed a five-year deal at Upton Park.
New Hammers boss Sam Allardyce will make Nolan the club's captain in the hope he can repeat his heroics of two seasons ago, when his 17 goals helped the Magpies bounce straight back into the Barclays Premier League after their relegation.
The deal is a real coup for Allardyce, who has landed a player he knows well from their successful spell together at Bolton and who hit 12 top-flight goals last term.
As well as taking over as skipper from the out-of-contract Matt Upson, Nolan's arrival will also soften the blow of Scott Parker's inevitable move back to the Premier League with Tottenham his likely destination.
However, Nolan's departure from St James' Park, after he failed to agree an extension to his contract, has not gone down well on Tyneside with fellow midfielder Joey Barton admitting the news made him feel "sick''.
And Nolan himself admitted the move came out of the blue.
"It's been a bit of a whirlwind, but obviously once I knew they wanted me, they have shown a certain hunger and desire to make sure I become a West Ham player,'' he told the club website.
"Having the chance to link up with Sam again is a massive thing and obviously coming to such a massive club is great for me.
"I'm very sad to leave Newcastle but I'm coming to another massive club in my eyes, and hopefully I can be as successful as I was there.
"I've come to West Ham because of the tradition of the club and everything about it. I've always enjoyed playing here and there was also the chance of linking up with Sam and working with him again.''
Newcastle boss Alan Pardew today admitted the Magpies could not reach an agreement with their skipper over the length of his new contract.
And Nolan added: "The be all and end all was that this club wanted me and the owners put faith in me and have given me a security of contract. Now it's my time to repay them and hopefully I will do that.''
Pardew, a former boss at Upton Park, said: "I would like to thank Kevin for his sterling efforts as a player and captain of this club, especially since I took over last season.
"He displayed admirable leadership qualities and I wish him every success at West Ham. It's a great club and I'm sure he will thrive there.
"We are looking to complete on a number of deals over the next month or so and I am sure with the quality of signings I anticipate coming into the club, we should look forward to exciting times in the upcoming season as we look to establish the club as a genuine force in the top half of the Premier League.''
The Hammers had already added defender Abdoulaye Faye to their squad and a third ex-Bolton player, full-back Ricardo Gardner, is expected to join imminently.
Allardyce wants to bring in at least another four players with a striker next on his wishlist.