Czech this out, Kovac is here!

WEST HAM S new signing Radoslav Kovac may have to wait for his chance to break into the Hammers starting line-up, but assistant boss Steve Clarke is convinced that he will be a good signing for the club, writes DAVE EVANS. The 29-year-old Czech Republic

WEST HAM'S new signing Radoslav Kovac may have to wait for his chance to break into the Hammers' starting line-up, but assistant boss Steve Clarke is convinced that he will be a good signing for the club, writes DAVE EVANS.

The 29-year-old Czech Republic international signed on a loan deal to the end of the season with a view to a permanent deal, and the former Chelsea coach insisted that he is just what they were looking for.

"He is a good signing for us because he can play in the midfield where we are a little bit short just now," said Clarke.

"He can also play at the back and he is a very experienced player, a Czech Republic international, who passes the ball well, which is the way we like to play."


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Kovac is a tall, six foot three inches for a midfielder, but he has the experience of playing for his country at the 2006 World Cup and the 2008 European Championships, as well as making 14 Champions League appearances for his current club Spartak Moscow.

"He is not a forward-going player, he is more defensive, but he gives us good balance to the squad, and we have lost a few players in the window, so it is nice to bring one in," said Clarke.

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The player himself was keen to experience the Premier League.

"I was happy in Moscow, but England is a new call," said Kovac. "I will be 30 soon and after four years in Russia, I want to revive my career and there is nothing better than the Premier League.

"Moreover, West Ham are a famous club, they are playing at the top of the table, competing for a place in Europe."

The midfielder will have to work on his match fitness however. The Russian league has reached its close season and Kovac has not played since before Christmas.

"It has been the close season in Russia, so we will have a look at him this week and assess him, but I'm sure it won't take him long," explained Clarke.

"I haven't seen him in training, but I saw him the day he signed and he looks in good shape physically."

So where is Kovac likely to fit into the team?

"Ideally he is a central midfield player just sitting in front shielding the defence, but he has to get past Scottie Parker first," insisted the assistant manager. "He knows he is coming into a team that is doing very well, so he will have to be patient and wait for his chance."

West Ham will hope that he fits in as well as the Hammers' other new signing.

Savio played only a few minutes against Hull City last Wednesday, but came on for 20 minutes at the Emirates and showed some useful touches to suggest that he could make an impression at Upton Park.

"He's settled in okay," said Clarke. "I think you can see he is not the tallest or the biggest, so he will find the intensity and power of the Premier League a bit of a shock.

"But I thought when he came on he was bright and lively, good on the ball and showed he is not afraid as he got stuck into a few tackles - he will be okay for us.

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