Strike it rich!

WEST HAM will look to resurrect their Premier League season after signing three international strikers as the January transfer window came to a close, writes DAVE EVANS. With Benni McCarthy confirmed as a signing by manager Gianfranco Zola following Satur

WEST HAM will look to resurrect their Premier League season after signing three international strikers as the January transfer window came to a close, writes DAVE EVANS.

With Benni McCarthy confirmed as a signing by manager Gianfranco Zola following Saturday's goalless draw with Blackburn, two more were added as the deadline grew closer on Monday.

Rumours of James Beattie at Stoke and Scott McDonald at Celtic proved to be wide of the mark, while Robbie Keane was deemed too expensive by chairman David Sullivan, but by 5pm two deals were finally done.

Egyptian international Mido completed his loan move from Middlesbrough, while Brazilian striker Ilan signed a six-month permanent deal after being released by French outfit St Etienne two weeks ago.


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Just as importantly, no players left the club as the new owners stayed true to their word that despite the huge debts they have acquired by taking over at Upton Park, the star men will not be sold to help pay them off.

West Ham were approached with offers for at least two of their players on Monday, but they were turned down.

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With only strikers coming into the club, some would say it leaves them short of cover at right back and in goal, but it appears that Zola was content to go with the defence that he has at the moment.

Last year, Savio was the only purchase by the club and that proved to be a disastrous one. This time, you can't help but think that Zola has made the right move.

Mido, who is still just 26, has played all over Europe. He initially moved from Egyptian side El Zamalek to Gent in Belgium, before spells with Ajax, Celta Vigo (where he played alongside McCarthy), Marseille and Roma, before moving on to Spurs, Middl-esbrough and Wigan.

He has reportedly taken a cut in wages to just �1,000 a week to come to Upton Park, and he is keen to make an impression.

"I know a lot of players here and the fans are passionate," he said.

He should know, he was the subject of abuse from the West Ham fans when he played at Upton Park with Tottenham.

"We have got everything we need to get into the top 10 and I hope to play my part in helping the club move up."

Brazilian Ilan was a surprise arrival, mainly because few people had ever heard of him.

The 29-year-old made three appearances for his country in 2003, but has spent the last six years in France playing for Sochaux and St Etienne, scoring some 49 goals along the way.

All three strikers will be available for Saturday's trip to Burnley, with McCarthy likely to get the nod to partner Carlton Cole up front for the match at Turf Moor.

Freddie Sears may well go out again, when the loan window reopens next week, having plunged down the pecking order thanks to the new arrivals.

Kieron Dyer is back in full training and may play some part on Saturday, while both Guillermo Franco and Danny Gabbidon are likely to return to training at the end of the week, but will not make the trip north.

MEANWHILE, next Wednesday's first team clash with Birmingham City has been designated as 'Kid for a Quid' Day.

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