West Ham to sign Mexico striker Guillermo Franco on one-year deal
10 September 2009 02:05
Mexico striker Guillermo Franco claims he has signed a one-year deal with West Ham, bringing to an end Gianfranco Zola's long search for a new forward.
Franco, 32, was out of contract following his release from Villareal in the summer and had appeared close to joining Argentinian outfit Estudiantes last week.
But the striker has opted for a switch to Upton Park, where he is expected to be a back-up to first-choice forward Carlton Cole.
'Everything is sorted out, I fixed it this morning and I am going to West Ham,' Franco said.
'I am very happy. I am going to the Premier League, which was one of my wishes, and I am glad it has been finalised.'
The Hammers had spent all summer attempting to bolster their strikeforce and failed with a deadline-day bid to sign Benjani from Manchester City.
But the club vowed to continue their efforts to bring in more firewpower, despite the closure of the transfer window.
"Gianfranco Zola and [technical director] Gianluca Nani are discussing the possibility of an out-of-contract striker joining the club," a West Ham statement said last week.
Speculation had linked West Ham with a move for Mark Viduka, but the signing of Franco appears to end their search for more firepower.
Franco, who was born in Argentina, made his name with hometown club San Lorenzo before moving to Monterrey, where a successful four-year spell persuaded him to switch nationality and represent Mexico.
He joined Villareal in 2006, scoring 14 goals in 81 appearances during an injury-plaged spell in Spain. The veteran forward has scored six goals in 18 appearances for Mexico, returning to action for the national team in Saturda's 3-0 World Cup qualifying win over Costa Rica.