West Ham United boss Sam Allardyce is thrilled to have completed the signing of Senegal international Cheikhou Kouyate.
Kouyate possesses substantial UEFA Champions League and Europa League experience from his spell at previous club Anderlecht and Big Sam is looking forward to using that in his team.
Standing 6'4 tall, Kouyate is sure to add presence to the Hammers midfield as they look for improvement all over the pitch in 2014/15.
Allardyce said: "We're delighted to have secured what has been one of our top targets so early in the pre-season. Kouyate is a dynamic midfielder, goes box to box and has excellent skills with both feet as well as being strong in the air.
"If needed, he can fill in at centre back but his strength will be what he can do in midfield and creating the chances we need to attack.
"He is only 24, so a good age and he was insistent that West Ham was his choice of club, Valencia and a few other top clubs were after him, but he wanted to come here and I am looking forward to him having a bright future here at West Ham.
"The importance of getting a top target so early is vital to that player being here for the start of pre-season, especially coming from abroad. He can get to know his team-mates at the beginning and integrate himself and bond with the rest of the team before the season begins, we get to know what he is about and he gets to know about us.
"It has been a long pursuit, with the Joint-Chairmen, myself and Martyn [Glover] to get him, but we have got him and we look forward to seeing him in a West Ham shirt in the new season."
That new season begins with a mouthwatering home game against Tottenham Hotspur and Big Sam cannot wait to face the north Londoners.
"What a game to start the new Barclays Premier League campaign with - I am sure our fans are rubbing their hands with delight as it is the fixture they look out for every season.
"And after beating them three times last season, the pressure is on to do it again and in the first game of the season as well, so we will have to be ready and keep the results going against them!
"It is a tough start, there is a real mix of teams we are playing in the first seven games, in terms of sides who you look at being at the top, the middle and two newly promoted sides in Burnley and Queens Park Rangers. It is quite unusual to have so many local derbies in the first set of games, after Tottenham, we go to Crystal Palace and then QPR, so it's tough but as we know, every game is tough in the Premier League."
West Ham will be giving their all to prepare as well as they can for the new season and will be the first team back to pre-season when they report back to Chadwell Heath on 3 July.
He added: "The work to prepare for the new season is already in full swing - getting new players into our squad like we have secured already in Mauro Zarate and Cheikhou Kouyate plus the many other targets we are pursuing and then pre-season training, where we will be getting the players prepared to be 100 per cent ready to go out there and get as many points as we can on board early on.
"What you have to bear in mind is securing as many points at the start of the season is the backbone for the squad. Last year, we had a good pre-season and then didn't get as many points on board early on as we would have wanted and suffered for that, even though some performances weren't reflected in the results, compared to the season before when we had a stronger start.
"With the injuries that we then suffered, it means those points caught up with you a bit and you struggle, so we want to go out as strong as we can from the start to establish that confidence and get those points to help us reach the targets we want to achieve.
"There will be a lot of activity between now and the start with new signings and like other clubs, we would want to have all if not nearly all our transfer business completed for the season to start, but as we all know, it doesn't happen like that and there will still be additions being made to squads until the close of the transfer window at the end of August, so it is a case of working hard with everything we have got and then blending in with what we can add."