Jeremie's Hammers Joy

JEREMIE Aliadiere was delighted to agree a season-long loan deal at Upton Park from Arsenal and confirmed that it was Hammers long-standing interest that persuaded him to switch to East London.

The 22-year-old French forward returned from a loan spell at Celtic to join Alan Pardew's squad, insisting that Hammers desire to sign him last season played a key factor in his decision to chose Upton Park ahead of a number of Premier League clubs this time around.

"I know West Ham United have wanted to sign me before," he explained. "I knew Alan Pardew had tried to sign me last season so that made me feel that West Ham United wanted me and that I'd fit in well at the Club.

"I've always liked West Ham and I know that they have a tradition for playing good football, which will suit my style of play. They were actually my choice to join before I went to Celtic, so I'm delighted that it has now worked out and I have come to the Club.

"I spoke to Arsene Wenger about joining West Ham and he agreed that it would be a good move for me where I would be playing for a strong team."

Jeremie has been touted as a star of the future ever since he broke Michael Owen's scoring record en route to helping Arsenal lift the FA Youth Cup in 2001. He made his Gunners debut in November of that year, but injury has unfortunately restricted his progress of late.

However, now that he is back to full-fitness, the Clairefontaine graduate is keen to show the Premier League what he is capable of.

"It has been hard because every time I have broken into the Arsenal team I have suffered a bad injury," he mused. "It has been difficult, but I am just pleased to be back to fitness and now I'm looking forward to playing in the Premier League for West Ham United.

"Now that the injuries are over all I want to concentrate on is playing football.

"I went to Celtic to get first-team football but unfortunately it did not work out as I would have hoped. I wanted to play there, but I wasn't getting into the team so I felt it was the right decision to move on.

"I was very pleased that West Ham United wanted to bring me back to London and now I am focused on doing well for them. It is only a loan deal, but I will not be thinking about Arsenal or be trying to impress them.

"As long as I am here I am a West Ham United player and all I want to do is train hard and play well for the Club."

Hammers boss Alan Pardew was delighted with the capture of Aliadiere, a player he has admired for some time.

He said: "Jeremie is a terrific prospect and we're delighted to have him as part of our squad. We initially tried to sign him for last season's run-in and were then disappointed not to get him when he went to Celtic.

"But it's worked out well, he is here now and we feel that he will fit in well to the exciting young squad we are trying to build.

"He has similar attributes to Teddy Sheringham in the way that he is an intelligent player who will bring craft and vision to the attack. But he's also no mean finisher and he certainly has the skill to bring goals to our side.

"Along with David Bellion I think Jeremie is a great signing who will only improve our options going forward."