Hot Chilean!

WEST HAM have secured the loan signing of Chilean international playmaker Luis Jimenez as the Hammers began their summer recruitment plans with a bang, writes DAVE EVANS. And next into Upton Park could well be Barcelona s Icelandic international Eidur Gud

WEST HAM have secured the loan signing of Chilean international playmaker Luis Jimenez as the Hammers began their summer recruitment plans with a bang, writes DAVE EVANS.

And next into Upton Park could well be Barcelona's Icelandic international Eidur Gudjohnsen, who is a good friend of manager Gianfranco Zola from their Chelsea days.

The Hammers finally landed Jimenez on Tuesday evening after weeks of delicate negotiations with the player and Inter Milan.

He will be on a season-long loan at Upton Park, with West Ham having first refusal over his permanent signing, which is likely to cost around �8million.


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The 25-year-old was delighted to be making the move to England.

Speaking from Chile, he said: "I am very happy and excited and very determined to show what I can do.

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"I am a player who loves to play football, to be in a team that keeps the ball, to create opportunities and also score goals.

"I can't promise anything, but I am going to do everything possible to do a good job for the club."

It is a huge statement of ambition by West Ham in signing the international, and if they can add someone with the experience of Gudjohnsen to the mix, then stories of the club's imminent demise may well be finally put to rest.

The 30-year-old striker has been told by Barcelona head coach Pep Guardiola that he is no longer part of the Champions League winners' plans and so, after three seasons at the Nou Camp, he is set for a cut-price move.

There are likely to be plenty of clubs looking to tempt the striker, who cost Barca �8million back in 2006, but it seems that West Ham may have an advantage over a lot of them.

For a start, the international forward, who has 58 caps and 23 goals to his name, is Icelandic, the same nationality as West Ham's owners, while perhaps more importantly, are his ties with Zola.

Gudjohnsen made over 250 appearances for Chelsea scoring 78 goals in a six-year spell at Stamford Bridge, which coincided with Zola's time at the club.

His time at Barcelona has not been so productive with 10 goals in 72 games, but most of those appearances have been from off the bench.

A fee of around �4million, will not deter West Ham, so it is only the age of the Icelandic striker that could put Zola off.

The battle for Inter's Brazilian winger Mancini is apparently not so straight-forward.

Jose Mourinho is prepared to let the player leave the San Siro, but it seems that has alerted a number of clubs both in Spain and Italy, who are looking to hijack the deal.

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