LUKE JAMES is happy he did all he could to force through a move to Peterborough United after his departure from Hartlepool United was confirmed in the final hours of the transfer window.
Having submitted two separate transfer requests last month in order to engineer his exit from Victoria Park, James signed a four-year contract at London Road and goes straight into the Peterborough squad for tomorrow's Johnstone Paints Trophy tie with Leyton Orient.
Pools turned down a £500,000 offer for James last month, but Posh officials returned with a significantly improved bid over the weekend and the 19-year-old was given permission to travel south this morning.
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“I am over the moon that everything is completed and I am now a Peterborough United player,” said James. “As soon as I knew about the interest, I wanted to come to the football club. Peterborough is a great club and I am thrilled to be here.
“Peterborough are a club that are going places. I spoke to Jack Baldwin, and he told me what a great club it is and I just can’t wait to get started.
“I’ve been at Hartlepool a long time. I want to thank them for all they’ve done for me. I’ve been there a very long time, but I felt the time was right.
“It was too good an opportunity to turn down. I’m very excited about playing my football in League One. It’s a new environment, but hopefully I can hit the ground running.”
Amble-born James joined Pools’ youth ranks at the age of 11 and signed his first professional contract on his 17th birthday in November 2011.
He made his first-team debut the following month, and became the club’s youngest ever goalscorer when he netted in a 2-0 win over Rochdale in January 2012.
He struggled from injury in the following campaign, but finished last season as Pools’ leading goalscorer with 16 goals in all competitions.
The current campaign was blighted by his obvious desire to move away from Victoria Park, but after missing the win over AFC Wimbledon, he returned to the side to make his 100th Pools appearance in last weekend’s defeat to Cheltenham Town.
“I think everyone is aware that we’ve been interested in Luke for quite a while,” said Peterborough boss Darren Ferguson. “We’ve had to be patient, but we’ve used out experience from other deals in this transfer.
“I’m grateful to my chairman and to Barry Fry for getting this deal over the line. We’re delighted to get him. We felt we needed a number nine. He is a goalscorer, he has a great attitude and he can’t wait to get started. I’m looking forward to working with Luke. It has dragged on a bit, but it is pleasing everything is sorted.”
Hartlepool did not make any additions today, and it remains to be seen whether boss Colin Cooper is given any funds to make loan signings once the Football League loan window reopens later in the month.