Franco signs for Hammers

WEST HAM have added to their attacking options by completing the signing of Mexican international Guillermo Franco this week. The 32-year-old striker was in England last week to discuss the move, and despite interest from Argentinian outfit Estudiantes, h

WEST HAM have added to their attacking options by completing the signing of Mexican international Guillermo Franco this week.

The 32-year-old striker was in England last week to discuss the move, and despite interest from Argentinian outfit Estudiantes, he returned to London on Wednesday to complete the deal.The experienced front man was released by Spanish side Villarreal in the summer after 81 appearances and 14 goals in La Liga, and he was delighted to sign for the Hammers.

"I am really happy to sign for West Ham," he said. "It was my dream to come to the Premier League and I am proud to play for a club that has so much history. This is a very important stage in my career and I hope to score lots of goals for the club this season and then play in the World Cup."Despite leaving Spain at the end of last season, Franco has kept himself busy with his national team over the summer.He scored two goals in Mexico's winning CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign, and was also on target last week as they took a step closer to next summer's World Cup Finals in South Africa, with a 3-0 victory over Costa Rica in their qualifying group.

"My main motivation was to play in the Premier League," said the striker, who was born in Argentina despite playing for Mexico. "I love English football and I love the Premier League. I had the possibility of joining Estudiantes and two Spanish clubs, but it was the Premier League that drew me here.

"I can fulfil my desire with West Ham and I am very happy to be here."Despite being only five feet 11 inches tall, he is expected to act as back-up for Carlton Cole, and he may even play a part in next Tuesday night's Carling Cup tie at Bolton Wanderers.Franco has an outside chance of being in the squad for Saturday's clash with Liverpool, but there was better news as left back Herita Ilunga resumed full training this week.The Hammers have had to make do with either Jonathan Spector and Danny Gabbidon filling in at full back since Ilunga broke his jaw at Wolves on the opening day of the season, but it seems that he is ready to return and give the Hammers a real boost.Valon Behrami came through his substitute appearance at Wigan with no problems and is set to start on Saturday, while Jack Collison and Kieron Dyer are both expected to be fit enough to play some part against Rafa Benitez's team.Italian striker Alessandro Diamanti is likely to start as well after his splendid cameo appearance at the DW Stadium and that may mean an unfortunate relegation to the bench for young forward Zavon Hines, who impressed everyone in his first start in claret and blue.All of the squad bar the injured Luis Boa Morte and Dean Ashton have been training this week, but the biggest doubt is still Luis Jimenez, who is struggling to recover from a groin injury and is rated only 50/50 to face Liverpool.

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