West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of forward Alessandro Diamanti from AS Livorno Calcio for an undisclosed fee.
The 26-year-old becomes Gianfranco Zola's second major recruit from the Italian top flight this summer after Chilean international Luis Jimenez arrived from Internazionale. To date, the club have also been busy buying proven internationals Herita Ilunga and Radoslav Kovac on permanent transfers after they impressed on loan and signing the highly-rated prospects Fabio Daprela and Frank Nouble.
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The latest recruit will provide extra firepower to the Hammers attack alongside England striker Carlton Cole. Diamanti scored 18 times in 37 league and cup matches last season, including six goals in the final ten matches of what proved a hugely successful campaign.
After successfully passing a medical, he agreed a five-year contract at the Boleyn Ground and said he could not wait to get started in his new claret and blue No32 shirt. "I am very happy to be at West Ham United and to get the chance to play for Gianfranco Zola," he told whufc.com. "This is a big club and I want to give everything for the supporters."
The club had been tracking the 5ft11ins Diamanti for several months because of his high-profile exploits with Livorno, particularly through his long-range shooting and set-piece prowess. He had originally moved to the Stadio Armando Picchi after an excellent 2006/07 season with his hometown club AC Prato that saw him score ten goals in 25 league outings.
Diamanti had no hesitation in deciding to move to east London for the next stage of his career despite overtures from some of Serie A's leading clubs. "I chose West Ham because the club has the tradition of playing great football," he said. "Also because the West Ham fans are really passionate and that is the way I am."
On being shown around the stadium from the upper tier of the West Stand to a first walk on the pitch he will now call home, Diamanti added that he was well aware of the club's history and standing. In particular, he named greats like Bobby Moore and Sir Trevor Brooking, as well as the current England trio Robert Green, Matthew Upson and Carlton Cole.
A good friend of Valon Behrami, who has already been driving his new team-mate around London, Diamanti summed up his attitude to football when asked to describe which players he most looks up to in the game. "I don't have any favourite player in particular," he said. "I only like players who give 100 per cent on the pitch."
After concluding a whirlwind week of final negotiations, CEO Scott Duxbury explained the deal was completed thanks to the assistance of principal partners SBOBET and their continued support of West Ham United, which meant he was able to release vital funds for transfer activity.
He said: "I am delighted that we have been able to secure this transfer at last as we feel that Alessandro will be a perfect complement to our existing attacking options. I must offer personal thanks to our sponsors SBOBET and their executive director Bill Mummery for the way they have endorsed what we are trying to achieve here.
"Their backing, along with the efforts of Gianfranco and Gianluca Nani this week, has enabled me to finalise the deal. It has been a case of working around the clock to ensure we landed another of our key targets and the three of us are grateful for the supporters' understanding of what we are trying to achieve with our exciting squad."