Tuesday, 3 February 2009

New Faces On the Way?

Less than 24 hours since the window slammed shut and various media outlets have been linking West Ham United with a couple of players who hadn't previously warranted a mention, even by the club itself.

Sky Sports report that United have completed the signing of goalkeeper Peter Kurucz on loan from Ujpest FC, citing confirmation from the Hungarian club. It is claimed the Hammers have been monitoring Kurucz since Ujpest played two games in England in January and have now moved to secure the 20-year-old until the end of the season. Ujpest FC claim the 20-year-old has moved to Upton Park on a six-month deal with an option to make the move permanent in the summer. A statement on the Ujpest website reads: "Ujpest and West Ham United have today reached an agreement for the talented goalkeeper to continue his career with the London club. The 20-year-old player has a half-year contract with the Premier League club, which has the option to purchase. If West Ham exercises this right, Peter will join for a further four years."
Kurucz is unlikely to challenge West Ham's first-choice keeper Robert Green but will be keen to gain experience in England.

Elsewhere, there have been several whispers, chiefly emanating from Sky Italia, that claim the club is in talks with former Chelsea midfielder Samuele Dalla Bona. Reports before Christmas suggested Dalla Bona, 28, would be allowed to leave Napoli in January and that the player was targeting a return to English football. He was quoted at the time as saying: "I would love to come back to the Premier League - that can motivate any player. Chelsea is still in my heart and I am following my former team-mates Frank Lampard and John Terry. But in that squad there was also Gianfranco Zola and I would like to work again with him at West Ham. He is a great man."

Dalla Bona was a teenage sensation after he joined Chelsea in October 1998. The young midfielder was blooded through the youth and reserve team squads at Stamford Bridge, gaining a reputation for prolific goalscoring and winning the club golden boot in 1998-99. In the same season, he was voted Chelsea's young player of the year. He subsequently made his senior team debut for the club against Feyenoord in the Champions League a year later and in 2001 got an extended run in the side, making 32 appearances and scoring 2 goals. He also played during some of the matches in Chelsea's 2001-02 FA Cup run; the team were eventual runners-up to Arsenal, though Dalla Bona didn't play in the final.

The following season, Dalla Bona turned down a contract extension, citing his desire to return to Italy, and was placed on the transfer list. He moved to A.C. Milan for around £1million in July 2002, and made his debut in October of that year as Milan defeated Torino 6-0. During his first season at Milan, he received Champions League and Coppa Italia winners medals along with the rest of the squad. Facing competition from a star-studded AC Milan midfield containing the likes of Gennaro Gattuso, Clarence Seedorf and Andrea Pirlo, Dalla Bona's opportunities at the club were limited and he spent various seasons on loan at different clubs in Italy, the first of which was a year long loan at Bologna. The following season he was loaned to Lecce having made just a handful of appearances for Milan and in 2005 he was loaned to Sampdoria for a season.

At the end of the championship he returned to A.C. Milan but after a few weeks he was bought by S.S.C. Napoli, in the Italian Serie B league. Dalla Bona had a positive start at Napoli, with the club performing well in Serie B. His contributions to the team included a particularly stunning goal, a left footed volley from outside the box against Treviso. However, as Napoli made their return to Serie A, Dalla Bona was again regularly left out of the starting line, with Napoli signing new players. It seems now that he is ready to embrace a new challenge and has made no secret of his admiration for former Chelsea team-mate Zola.

In other news, the BBC are reporting that West Ham United have been invited to play for the 2009 Asian Trophy this summer, alongside Chelsea, Hull City and unnamed local team. Premier League chief executive Richard Scudamore claimed after the 2007 edition that the Hong Kong event had been very successful, but the 2009 version might be staged in Beijing or Shanghai instead. The 2009 tournament will be the fourth time the Premier League Asia Trophy has been played. The contest began in 2003 in Malaysia where Chelsea were the eventual champions. In 2005, Thailand were the hosts where Bolton won top honors. And the 2007 tournament in Hong Kong was the most successful one to date. If the 2009 tournament isn’t played in China, the next likely host countries will be South Korea and then Hong Kong.

Finally, there is a piece in today's Standard titled 10 reasons to be a happy Hammer: After enduring a torrid time in 2008 - both on and off the field - West Ham have finally come good under the guidance of Gianfranco Zola... After several months are mostly negative press, it certainly makes a pleasant change to read something with a positive spin.


emlyn said...

I know the keeper has Joined but what of Dalla Bona? Wonder if they employ staff for the official site?

Trilby said...

Doesn't look like Dalla Bona is coming now, well according to the Mail at least.

emlyn said...

Apologies if you have already covered Dalla Bona in your new post, but in the Metro he has issued a come and get me plea to Franco having just been released by Napoli.

Trilby said...

It seems like Nani has pretty much shot this rumour down in flames and from what little I've heard there is no reason to mistrust his words. It does appear that there's a lot of dissemination coming from the player and his agent over this.


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