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Page last updated at 14:03 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Benni McCarthy seals move to West Ham from Blackburn

Blackburn and South Africa striker Benni McCarthy
McCarthy has missed the last two training sessions at Rovers

West Ham have completed the signing of striker Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee.

A deal for McCarthy was agreed last week but the move was reported to have been held up by work permit issues.

However, the 32-year-old South Africa international has now signed a contract until 2012 and he said: "I am very pleased and extremely happy.

"I am looking forward to making up for lost time and I can't wait to make my debut. All I want is to score goals."

McCarthy also revealed he came close to joining West Ham from Portuguese club Porto five years ago and added: "The reason why I am happy that it has finally happened is because about five years ago I had a disappointing experience when I thought I was going to be a West Ham player until Porto pulled out and I had to go back.

"I would have loved this to be my first Premier League club. I went to Blackburn instead but West Ham kept on pursuing me and eventually I am here."


Hammers manager Gianfranco Zola, speaking after Saturday's draw with Blackburn, stated: "I do not know the terms yet but they have told me the deal is done.

"He should be available for the next game [at Burnley on Saturday]."

The news will come as a relief to the Italian after Tottenham persuaded Monaco striker Eidur Gudjohnsen to reject the Hammers in favour of a move to White Hart Lane.

"Benni will be a threat in the last third. He is a player who can score goals and he will be a very good help for us," added Zola.

McCarthy, who is expected to cost about £2.5m, will be new West Ham owners David Sullivan and David Gold's first signing since their takeover of the debt-ridden club earlier this month.

Sullivan has revealed the club are £110m in the red.

However, the former Birmingham co-owner has said bolstering Zola's squad is a priority, despite the club's financial problems.

Zola keen to add striker in January

"We are particularly short of strikers and they are the hardest and most difficult position to fill. That's the short-term objective," commented Sullivan.

McCarthy, who will wear the number 17 shirt, joined Blackburn from Porto in the summer of 2006 and has scored 52 times for the club but is eager to boost his chances of playing for South Africa when the nation hosts the World Cup this summer.

Rumours of his exit from Ewood Park have been rife for months, with McCarthy, who has started only nine games this season, voicing his frustration about a lack of first-team opportunities.

Rovers boss Sam Allardyce labelled 32-year-old McCarthy "selfish" for missing training in an apparent effort to force through the move.

Allardyce said: "The only loyalty a player has got is to himself. That's not just Benni, that's all players today.

"It's more about a selfish attitude that they have. If something comes their way that they think they must have, they try their very best to go and get it."

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see also
West Ham 0-0 Blackburn
30 Jan 10 |  Premier League
Mido & Ilan join West Ham on loan
01 Feb 10 |  West Ham
Spurs complete Gudjohnsen signing
29 Jan 10 |  Tottenham
Blackburn ready to sell McCarthy
04 Jan 10 |  Blackburn
News conference - Sullivan and Gold
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Hammers want 100,000-a-week star
21 Jan 10 |  West Ham
Gold & Sullivan take over Hammers
19 Jan 10 |  West Ham

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