Thursday, 10 July 2008

A New Striker Arrives?

West Ham United have swooped to sign Hungarian striker Balint Bajner, according to The Sun. The 17-year-old was on trial at Upton Park in April and impressed by bagging two goals in a friendly. Bajner arrives via Romanian second division side CF Liberty Oradea, where he is reputed to be highly-rated by the coaching staff. If confirmed, Bajner would be the second teenager to sign for the Hammers in a week after Iceland Under-21 defender Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, also 17, arrived from HK Kopavogur last Friday.

Bajner, who comes from Sopron in Western Hungary,
could face Irons and England U-19 duo James Tomkins and Freddie Sears when he features for Hungary in the UEFA U-19 Championships, which start in the Czech Republic next week. Hungary coach Tibor Sisa certainly anticipates big things from the talented frontman. Sisa said: "Balint is a very good young player who is heading for the top. He is technically gifted and developing well. In spring his club sent him over to England for a trial. He did well then and I am sure he will be a success."

It is unclear at this stage what role Gianluca Nani has played in this latest capture, but if confirmed, it does underline the club's new manifesto of recruiting exciting young prospects from the global market. It is in this spirit that the talented youngster would be seen as one for the future, as oppose to a direct replacement for the soon departing Bobby Zamora.

George McCartney insists he has no intention of returning to Sunderland, despite talk of a £4.5 million offer from The Black Cats. The Northern Ireland international swapped the North East for the East End of London in the summer of 2006 and in his two seasons at Upton Park has become one of the club’s most dependable performers. Such was his form last season, the 27-year-old was even linked with a shock move to Italian giants Milan as well as Rangers of The SPL.

It is rumoured that Sunderland manager Roy Keane has now tabled a £4.5 million bid for the left back but he insists he is not looking to leave The Hammers at present. "I would like to stay at West Ham,"McCartney told the Belfast Telegraph. "I have no desire to leave. When clubs show an interest in you it is flattering but I have enjoyed my time at West Ham and I have played in every league game for them since February last year. But it’s really up to the two clubs and what West Ham want to see happen. If they choose to sell me then it’s up to both clubs to agree a fee and we’ll see if that happens but I have no desire to move. I haven’t really given the thought of going back to Sunderland much consideration because I am still a West Ham player. I had a lot of good times there but it was time for me to move on and I embarked on a new challenge. In football you never say never but at the minute I can’t say that will happen to me."

West Ham United reserve goalkeeper Richard Wright is expected to leave the Hammers though, with Championship side Ipswich Town- the club where the former England International started his career- the likely destination. 30-year-old Wright spent seven years at Portman Road making 240 appearances for the Tractor Boys, before a £6million transfer to Arsenal in 2001. However, despite earning his two England caps while being with the Gunners, he failed to make the number one spot his own at Highbury and was sold to Everton a year later. Wright spent five years at Goodison Park, but a stream of injuries saw him lose out to former Manchester United keeper Tim Howard for the number one jersey. He moved to West Ham United last season, but has failed to make a single appearance for the Irons while playing second fiddle to Robert Green, with Wright being loaned out to Southampton for the latter part of last season. Reports suggest that Ipswich manager Jim Magilton will complete a £500,000 deal for the former Portman Road favourite within the next two weeks.


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