West Ham United are delighted to confirm they have beaten off interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs to complete the signing of Barcelona midfielder Alex Song on a season-long loan deal.
Song, 26, has spent the last two seasons at the Nou Camp following his £15million move from Arsenal in the summer of 2012, playing 39 La Liga matches and winning the title in 2012/13.
The Cameroon international, who can also play at centre-back, is delighted to be returning to London with the Hammers and cannot wait to face the challenge of Barclays Premier League football again.
Song said: "I'm very happy to be here and very happy to see the guys and the fans today and to start to do my job for West Ham United. I think this is very important for me to be coming back to London to West Ham United, which is a club with ambition to build a new stadium and become a big club. I am very excited to be part of this project.
"For me, when I was in Spain, I always said that if I was to leave one day I would return to the Premier League. It was a very hard decision, because when you have options of a lot of clubs who are playing in the Champions League, but at the end of the day I chose West Ham because I wanted to come to the Premier League. This is a league which has given me a lot and I didn't finish what I wanted to achieve here.
"For my family too, it was very important, because my children and my wife wanted to come back to England. This is an opportunity to do that with West Ham and I just took it. I am very happy to be here and very proud to be part of the project at this club."
Song revealed that a long discussion with manager Sam Allardyce about the Hammers' ambition to rise to the next level convinced him that this is the right club for him.
New boy Alex Song believes the future is bright for West Ham United
"When I spoke to the manager, he gave me very good advice," he continued. "I had a very good chat with him and that's why I am coming here. We have to do better than last season. I think the club has very good ambition and I hope we can maybe catch the European positions, because that would be very good for the club.
"I want to be part of that and that's why I came here. The manager knows what he wants and I know what he wants and that's why I want to help the team. I want to be part of what the club wants to achieve this year.
"I need some games to be ready and get my fitness back. When I am 100 per cent, I will bring the experience and I will make the fans happy, I am sure. I am lucky to be back in London, back in England and with West Ham. I am looking forward to showing everyone what I can do.
"West Ham is looking to be a very, very big Club in the future. The Club has a great project and it is a very big project with very big ambition. I think it's great for the fans that the Club wants to be one of the biggest in England. That's why I chose to come here."
Born in Douala, Cameroon, Song started his professional career in France with Bastia on the island of Corsica, where he quickly progressed to the first team, making his debut as a 16-year-old in the 2003/04 campaign.
After 32 Ligue 1 appearances by the age of 17, he earned a move to Arsenal, initially on loan, before signing a permanent contract with the Gunners in summer 2006.
Despite still being a teenager, Song appeared in the Barclays Premier League and UEFA Champions League during his debut Arsenal season and, after returning from a loan spell at Charlton Athletic in 2007, established himself in Arsene Wenger's side. In October 2010, he scored a late Barclays Premier League winner against the Hammers at the Emirates - one of ten goals he netted for the Gunners.
By the time he moved on to Barcelona in 2012, Song had made 138 Premier League appearances for the Gunners - 206 in all competitions - and was a League Cup runner-up in 2011.
With Barcelona, in addition to his La Liga winners' medal, Song also won the Supercopa Espana in 2013 and was part of the Barca squad which lost to Real Madrid in the Copa del Rey final last term.
Internationally, Song has been capped 47 times by Cameroon, finishing second in the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations and featuring in the last two FIFA World Cup finals.
The midfielder becomes the third Cameroonian to play for the Hammers, following cousin and namesake Rigobert and the late Marc-Vivien Foe.
He is West Ham's eighth summer capture, following the arrivals of Mauro Zarate, Cheikhou Kouyate, Enner Valencia, Diafra Sakho, Carl Jenkinson, Aaron Cresswell and Diego Poyet.