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Fulham have confirmed the signing of veteran defender Ian Pearce from West Ham United this afternoon. The deal will see Fulham captain Andy Melville move the other way permanently when his loan spell at Upton Park expires at the end of January.

Pearce, 29, has signed a three and a half year contract at Craven Cottage and will add considerable experience to Chris Coleman’s defensive options having won the Premier League with Blackburn Rovers in 1994-95 and made more than a hundred senior appearances for the Hammers after returning to London in 1997. The versatile Pearce, who can play up front as well as in central defence, had his initial breakthrough at Chelsea after signing from Oxted and District FC in 1991.