West Ham pin ball wizard’!

WEST HAM are set to secure the signing of Chilean international Luis Jimenez from Inter Milan, writes DAVE EVANS. The 25-year-old striker will initially arrive in a loan move, with the Hammers having first refusal on his permanent signing in a deal simila

WEST HAM are set to secure the signing of Chilean international Luis Jimenez from Inter Milan, writes DAVE EVANS.

The 25-year-old striker will initially arrive in a loan move, with the Hammers having first refusal on his permanent signing in a deal similar to the one that brought Herita Ilunga to the club last season.

The Hammers negotiating team, headed by chief executive Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani, returned from Milan on Tuesday morning with the deal all but done.

They beat off interest from Spurs, Bayern Munich and two Serie A clubs to secure Jimenez's services and he looks set to play an important part in West Ham's plans next season.


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Jimenez, who is nicknamed 'El Mago' - The Wizard, has played just 21 games for Inter in two seasons, and current boss Jose Mourinho decided that he was surplus to requirements for the current Italian champions.

Despite that, Jimenez is known as a technically excellent, flair player, who can unlock defences and he is likely to slot straight into the position vacated by David Di Michele - alongside either Carlton Cole or Dean Ashton.

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Jimenez made his international debut for Chile at the age of just 19, and was even made captain in 2006.

However, after signing for Inter following loan spells at both Fiorentina and Lazio in 2006 and 2007, Jimenez felt he wanted to concentrate on winning a place in his club team's line-up and so dropped out of Chile coach Marcelo Bielsa's team.

Chile seem set for a place in the World Cup Finals after moving into second place in their qualifying group, but it is unclear whether Jimenez would want to fight for his place in the national team after he moves to Upton Park.

Jimenez will not be the first Chilean to play for West Ham.

Javier Margas arrived from Deportivo Universidad Catolica de Chile in 1998 with a huge reputation and a big �2.7million price tag.

However, Margas never lived up to the hopes of then manager Harry Rednapp and he was released after just six months of a four-year contract.

With West Ham's recent track record on signing quality players, Jimenez is unlikely to fail like Margas.

And if he does play to his potential, then the Hammers may have themselves another bargain.

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