According to media reports the permanent return of Joe Cole to Upton Park is imminent!
As a life long Hammers fan there is nothing I would like to see more than Joe Cole pull on the claret and blue shirt again and have a successful return, indeed of all the players that left us from that Golden Generation, he is the one that I would welcome back the most. West Ham fans have a special affection for Cole; he was club captain at 21 and always gave his best for the club. Even after leaving West Ham in 2003 after relegation, the fans never held it against him and always hoped that he might one day return to Upton Park.
This got me thinking, which other former West Ham players would be welcome back at Upton Park?
For me without doubt I would be more than happy to welcome back Michael Carrick, Glen Johnson and Rio Ferdinand, all three were excellent servants to the club and have excelled since leaving Upton Park. Even Allardyce has intimated that he would be interested in Ferdinand if he was available in the summer!
On the other hand I’m not sure that such a warm welcome would be extended to Jermain Defoe, can West Ham fans ever forgive him for the manner in which he left the club?
Then there is always the subject of Frank Lampard, over the years Lampard has received his fair share of abuse from the fans when returning to Upton Park but that aside surely nobody can doubt his abilities as a top class midfield player?!
Another consideration is the effect players usually have when returning to a former club.  Julian Dicks was not the same player when he returned to West Ham after a spell at Liverpool however he did help the team avoid relegation.  Don Hutchison was a record fee of £5m when he returned to West Ham and when he was fit, was largely disappointing.  Most recently Yossi Benayoun returned to West Ham but not long enough to really make any kind of impact.
Returning players have brought mixed fortunes to West Ham, should we be avoiding re-signing former players?