Brent Waits

Brent Rahim faces an anxious few days ahead to see if he will be able to fulfil his dream of signing for West Ham - years after he spent half a year with Monday night's opponents Newcastle.

Contrary to reports, the Trinidad and Tobago international has not signed for the club - but hopes that work permit clearance will enable him to do so soon.

The 24 year old midfielder reveals:

"I am not signed yet; it is a waiting game but I am hoping it will go through in the middle of next week; I don't know exactly how many caps I have got but I know it is the required 75%.

"I will have to hold back until it is all sorted but I am hopeful."

It is his second attempt to make a go of it in England, and he adds:

"I was at Newcastle at the age of 17, when Kevin Keegan was in charge, and there were some quality players up there like Les Ferdinand and David Ginola.

"I was originally there for six months but they were pleased with my attitude and ability so I stayed six months - but although they were interested in me I couldn't get a work permit."

If he does sign it will have been a circuitous route to Upton Park via not just the north east, but America and Bulgaria, where he is currently contracted to Levski Sofia.

"It is definitely something I have always been working towards, and that is why I resorted to going to Bulgaria - to get European experience.

"I had been playing for Los Angeles County but I wanted to get to Europe.

"Although I didn't play in the Champions' League for Levski Sofia because I arrived too late for registration, league football got me accustomed to playing European football with good players.

"Different countries have different work permit requirements so I was able to do so.

"Going there was a big culture shock but it got me acclimatised to Europe - and there are some nice hotels in Sofia!

"I had some Brazilian friends and we used to go shopping, but there was not much else to do.

"Now I am here Izzie, Jermain, and the others have been showing me around, and I am getting used to it.

So why are the Bulgarians prepared to let him go?

"A new coach has come to the club and there would actually be no fee," he explains.

"I had an up and down season last time but every coach has his own ideas, and for me it was time to go for something more challenging."

Explaining his style of play, he says:

"I think I am a ball winner, and I work really hard to win balls and then spread the play out."

Glenn Roeder is cautiously optimistic that he will be able to get his man and adds:

"Brent has been with us for a couple of weeks, and we have just been waiting for the 17th of August to arrive so that we can apply for his work permit.

"We are confident that he can get it because he has played the full 75% of internationals for Trinidad and Tobago.

"He has not signed, but I can't see why he won't get it - and then be able to sign on loan from Levski Sofia until January, and if he has progressed enough we will be able to keep him for the second half of the season.

"While he has been with us I have seen an improvement in him and I think that he is worth keeping at the club until the January window, and we will see how much he has improved in the next three or four months.

"He has integrated into the squad well, and I spoke to Shaka Hislop about him last year when his name was first brought up; Shaka was really positive about him, saying he was a powerhouse in midfield.

"Who knows? He is 24 years old, with not a lot of experience, but he has the motivation and who knows how much he can improve in the next three or four months.

"If he does, he will be able to earn a longer contract at the football club.

"It is a question of having strength in depth - and he is desperate to succeed.

"If his motivation in training counts for anything then he will improve sufficiently to earn a contract - but let's see how he does first, before we pass judgment."