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West Ham confirm Nsereko signing

Savio Nsereko
Nsereko was player of the tournament at the Uefa U19 Championships

West Ham say they beat off "fierce competition" from Europe's leading clubs to complete the signing of 19-year-old Brescia striker Savio Nsereko.

The Uganda-born German will be a direct replacement for Craig Bellamy.

The fee for Nsereko has not been disclosed but is expected to be a club record, topping the 7.5m West Ham paid Liverpool for Bellamy in 2007.

Hammers technical director Gianluca Nani worked with the Germany Under-19 international when he was at Brescia.

Nsereko, who will wear West Ham's number 10 shirt, passed a medical on Monday and the club were given international clearance to play in the Premier League game against Hull on Wednesday.

West Ham chief executive Scott Duxbury said: "We are delighted to sign Savio, particularly with the fierce competition for his services across Europe.

NSEREKO FACTFILE
Born Kampala, Uganda, on 27 July 1989
Moved to Munich when he was two
Signed for Brescia at 16
Speaks English, Italian and German

"He is an exciting prospect, who (manager) Gianfranco Zola believes will prove a valuable asset for this club now and in the years to come.

"It is a significant investment and shows our determination to continue moving this club forward."

The forward can play either wide or as a central striker and was named player of the tournament at last year's Uefa Under-19 Championship in the Czech Republic, which was won by Germany.

A West Ham delegation flew to Brescia in the middle of last week to agree a fee for the player. Nsereko then travelled to England over the weekend to meet Zola and finalise the deal.

Nsereko has scored a modest three goals in 17 appearances for Serie B side Brescia this season.

But in his last outing for them he scored twice in a minute in the 4-0 win against Pisa on 17 January.

606: DEBATE
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His signing will reassure fans who had feared the Londoners would only be a selling club during the January transfer window.

Owner Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson has been beset by financial problems in recent months and is considering selling the club.

But other than Bellamy, who was determined to leave Upton Park, West Ham have only sold fringe players Matthew Etherington, Lee Bowyer and Hayden Mullins.

Meanwhile, both the Hammers and Juventus have quashed speculation that Carlton Cole could be about to move from east London to Turin.

"We are very happy with the players we have in the team and we will not make any moves in the January transfer market," said Juventus sporting director Alessio Secco.

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see also
West Ham complete Nsereko signing
26 Jan 09 |  West Ham
Man City complete Bellamy signing
19 Jan 09 |  Man City
Zola keen to keep West Ham stars
10 Jan 09 |  West Ham
Portsmouth sign Mullins and Pele
26 Jan 09 |  Portsmouth
West Ham closer to possible sale
17 Dec 08 |  West Ham


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