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Bridge departs; more to follow

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As per the official site:

Wayne Bridge has joined West Ham for the rest of the season after completing his medical at the Upton Park club.

England defender Bridge, who was injured at the beginning of the season, has not figured prominently and last started a month ago in the Europa League at Juventus. His only Premier League start was at Blackpool in October.

And the exodus begins.

With Edin Dzeko arriving at the club (and I believe concluding incoming transfer business), attention now turns to shipping some of those players out who for various reasons are now at best, fringe members of the squad.

Even by the standards of some, Bridge's fall has been fairly spectacular. When he arrived at the club we were in need of a left back, with the incumbents Michael Ball, Javi Garrido and Glauber Berti a weak link. Bridge arrived at a cost of £12 million, but with a good reputation and the perception that he was unfortunate not to make more appearances for both Chelsea and England due to the presence of Ashley Cole.

Yet it has never worked out that way. From being what should have been a vital cog in the side Mark Hughes was creating, a succession of injuries and of course off-field issues meant he has never produced his best form. Bridge has made just forty-two appearances for the club and is now effectively the fourth-choice left back behind summer signing Aleksandar Kolarov, the ever impressive Pablo Zabaleta and even Joleon Lescott.

When the signing was made (admittedly like many Hughes made in that six-month spell) I felt it was a good signing, evidence of the progress the club was making. Bridge was pegged as an accomplished defender who added plenty going forward. In his defence, Bridge has always shown a willingness to be involved going forward yet the famous Opta stat showed that he had made 49 crosses without reaching a team-mate. As much as you can laud his ability to get into attacking positions, if there is no end result it is meaningless.

The deal is initially a six-month loan (saving the club an estimated £2million in wages) and Mancini would no doubt have been keen to offload him permanently, yet loans appear the most that can be hoped for with not just Bridge but the likes of Roque Santa Cruz, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Emmanuel Adebayor - all set to depart between now and the end of January, and no doubt bringing the tenure of Mark Hughes - essentially his signings - back under the microscope.