West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of France international midfielder Alou Diarra.
The 2006 FIFA World Cup runner-up and 2012 UEFA European Championship star has joined the Hammers on a three-year contract from Olympique Marseille for an undisclosed fee.
Capped 44 times, the 31-year-old has enjoyed a fine playing career, winning the French title twice, appearing in the UEFA Champions League nearly 30 times and captaining his country.
Born in the northern Paris suburb of Villepinte, the 6'3 tall defensive midfielder is known for his outstanding physical attributes and leadership abilities.
Diarra said: "I am very happy to be here at West Ham - everything is signed now which is good and I am excited to be here at this club and to be playing for them in the Premier League.
"I know a lot about West Ham as a club and when I knew they were interested in signing me, I was very happy and knew it would be a good choice for me.
"We are a Premier League club and I know of players who were here before like Paolo Di Canio and Scott Parker, but of the players now in the team, I know Guy [Demel], Mo [Diame] and of course, Modibo Maiga, who played in the French league last year.
"The club has just been promoted and I am looking forward to a good challenge with the team ahead. I see this as my chance in the Premier League to do well with West Ham. I hope that my experience can help and the fans will see me give my all in the matches."
After coming through the ranks at Ligue 2 club CS Louhans-Cuiseaux, Diarra was snapped up by Bayern Munich at the age of 19, spending the next two seasons learning his trade in the German giants' reserve team alongside future internationals Owen Hargreaves, Philipp Lahm and Bastian Schweinsteiger.
After signing for Liverpool in 2002, Diarra enjoyed successful loan spells with French clubs Le Havre, Bastia and Lens before joining the latter on a permanent basis in 2005.
The 2005/06 season proved something of a breakthrough campaign for Diarra, who made ten European appearances as Lens reached the last-32 of the UEFA Cup. That impressive form saw Ligue 1 champions Olympique Lyonnais move to take him to the Stade Gerland in the summer of 2006.
Before his move to Lyon, however, Diarra helped France to reach the 2006 FIFA World Cup final. Having made his debut in a FIFA World Cup qualifier against Republic of Ireland in Paris in October 2004, he appeared twice in Germany, including a substitute appearance in the final defeat by Italy.
Diarra won the Ligue 1 title with Lyon in 2007, but after making just 15 league appearances, he joined Bordeaux. There, he would make more than 150 appearances over four seasons, winning the title again in 2009 and three other domestic trophies.
After captaining France in their group-stage meeting with host nation South Africa at the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he joined Marseille a year ago, helping the club to win the French League Cup in April 2012.
Diarra appeared at his third major tournament with France, starting all three group matches, including the 1-1 draw with England.