Franco completes Hammers switch
West Ham United have completed the signing of Mexico forward Guillermo Franco. The 32-year-old was a free agent following the expiry of his contract with Villarreal and had been linked with a move to South American champions Estudiantes.
Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola has been anxious to bolster his attacking options and Franco follows Luis Jiminez, Alessandro Diamanti and Frank Nouble in moving to Upton Park this summer. Franco, who has scored four goals in his last six matches during Mexico's 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ qualifying campaign, was delighted.
"I am really happy to sign for West Ham," he said. "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 at the World Cup.
"This is an important team with great players and a great manager. I know that the club are very ambitious and want to do well. I want to do my best to make that happen and I am excited about the challenge.
"The main motivation was to play in the Premier League. 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."
With Dean Ashton injured, West Ham started the season with Carlton Cole as the only fit out-and-out striker in their senior squad. Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury said: "I am very pleased to be able to welcome Guillermo to West Ham as I was determined to deliver the extra attacking options that Gianfranco wanted for the new season.
"Alessandro Diamanti has settled in very well already to what is a strong squad and it is clear how keen Guillermo was to come as well. He understands what we are trying to achieve and his high level European and international experience will be invaluable."
Franco was born in Argentina and began his career at San Lorenzo before moving to Monterey in Mexico, where he scored 63 league goals in 119 games. That secured him a move to Villarreal in January 2006, where he played UEFA Champions League football.
Franco will be the first Mexico international to play for West Ham.