West Ham United are delighted to confirm the transfer of Anderlecht midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate for an undisclosed fee.
The 24-year-old Senegal international arrives from the Belgian champions on a four-year deal and becomes the Hammers' second new addition of the summer, following the signing of Argentine striker Mauro Zarate.
The Hammers had to fight off strong competition from clubs across Europe to land the services of Kouyate, who possesses extensive UEFA Champions League and UEFA Europa League experience from his time at Anderlecht.
Kouyate is thrilled to have completed his move to the Hammers, as he exclusively told West Ham TV: "I am very happy, because today West Ham have given me the chance to play in the Premier League. So I'm very happy to join such a club and that gives me great pleasure.
"I know a few players who were also at the club, [Carlos] Tevez, Demba [Ba], Andy Carroll, who was obviously here last season. West Ham are a team who are known and who are going to help me to progress. For my part, I'm going to try to do great things here and try to improve further still as a player.
"That I'm here now is thanks to the manager, because he went out of his way, leaving his holiday for me, so he has done everything he could for me to join the club. He, my advisers and agents helped me make the right decision and said West Ham was the ideal club for me, because as a kid I dreamed of playing in the Premier League and now it's here that my dream has been realised."
Joint-Chairman David Sullivan has welcomed Kouyate to the Club and believes his capture is a good indicator of the direction the Club is heading in. "I am absolutely delighted to have clinched the signing of Cheikhou after weeks of tough negotiations that saw us beat off the challenge of some huge clubs across Europe for his signature," Mr Sullivan said. "He comes with vast experience at the top level - including the Champions League - despite being only 24 and I am sure he will add valuable competition to places.
"We are determined to have a better season this year and this signing is a statement of the direction the Club is heading in. We hope to have at least four more signings in place by the time we kick-off against Tottenham on 16 August as we aim for at least a top-ten finish this season."
Kouyate in action for Senegal at the 2012 London Olympic Games
Born in Dakar, Senegal, Kouyate moved to Europe at the age of 15 when FC Brussels took him into their Academy and the 6'4 central midfielder's breakthrough came in the 2007/08 campaign when he made ten first team appearances in the Belgian top flight.
He earned a move to Anderlecht in the summer of 2008, quickly becoming a mainstay in the starting line-up. A first Belgian title arrived in the 2009/10 season, and he added to his medal collection as Anderlecht claimed the crown for the last three campaigns.
In Europe, Kouyate played a full role as Anderlecht reached the knockout stages of the UEFA Europa League in 2009/10, 2010/11 and 2011/12, and the group phase of the UEFA Champions League for the last two seasons.
Internationally, Kouyate is a teammate of Senegal captain Mo Diame. He has been capped eleven times and represented his country at the 2012 London Olympic Games.
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