West Ham agree Obiang deal
Published 10/06/2015 | 16:26
West Ham have confirmed the signing of Spain Under-21 midfielder Pedro Obiang from Sampdoria for an undisclosed fee.
The 23-year-old is the first player to join the Irons since the announcement of Slaven Bilic as the east London club's new manager on Tuesday.
Obiang made 35 appearances for Sampdoria last season, scoring three goals as the Blucerchiati finished seventh in Serie A to qualify for the Europa League.
Obiang is confident he can make a swift transition to the hustle and bustle of top-flight English football.
"We have been talking about this for a long time and now I have finally got the chance to come here," he said on the club's official website, www.whufc.com.
"I am very excited to play in the Premier League.
"It is a style of football that will help me to progress as a player and as a person, so it will be very good."
While it is likely much of the work to bring Obiang to Upton Park was done before Bilic's confirmed arrival, the player has every confidence the new manager can mould a team capable of holding its own.
"I think Bilic is a manager that can do very well here," said Obiang, who was at Atletico Madrid as a youngster before heading to Sampdoria aged 16.
"I know that he was a West Ham player and he did a very well with the Croatian national team.
"He is a manager that likes to play good football and I really like that, so I am sure that we will get along very well."
West Ham signed goalkeeper Darren Randolph from Birmingham earlier in the summer, with veteran Jussi Jaaskelainen among those named on the Premier League released list along with striker Carlton Cole and defender Guy Demel, who all follow former manager Sam Allarydce out of the Boleyn Ground.
According to the press release announcing Obiang's arrival, West Ham "are still hopeful they will be able to make several more signings before the new season gets under way".
Bilic has set his targets high for the club, who are set to move into the Olympic Stadium from the 2016/17 campaign.
"The ambition is to try to be top 10, definitely and then improve on that," he said.
"Then, in the space of a few seasons, with the stadium and everything, with hype, with probably a little bit more budget, with good planning and good play, nobody can stop us dreaming of European places or if we have a brilliant season to try to break into the Champions League places.
"To win a trophy, to win a cup. You have to believe in that to achieve it.
"If you don't believe in that then you're definitely not going to do that.
"It doesn't have to be an obsession in a negative way. If you don't believe it, who will believe it?
"Where it's going to take us I don't know, but logically if you play well and you improve your squad, if your players are playing more compact and more fluid with the ball, it should get you up the league."
Bilic will have less time than usual to bed his new squad in, with West Ham set to kick off the first qualifying round of the Europa League on July 2, having won a place via the Fair Play table.
The Irons also have pre-season fixtures scheduled against Peterborough, Southend, Colchester, and Charlton before taking on newly-promoted Norwich at Carrow Road on July 28.