Pard's High Hopes For First January Transfer

IT won't be long until Hammers new Israeli star, striker Yaniv Katan, is vying for a place in Alan Pardew's team.

The first signing of the transfer window arrives in January subject to a medical, but the manager perceives no problems and is eager for his latest acquisition to arrive.

"The deals not done yet because it's subject to a medical," said Pards, "but the agreement between us and the player is done, the agreement between the club and us is done, the work permit has been granted so we are very nearly there."

The player comes with a high pedigree from Maccabi Haifa and will have Israel team-mate Yossi Benayoun to show him the ropes around Upton Park, which will undoubtedly make the transition a lot smoother.

"He's technically very good and can play on the left or right side of a front three or through the middle," said Pards. "He's quick for a 24-year-old and he's got bags of experience. He's been in the national side since he was only 19.

"He caught my eye when I was looking at Yossi, and in the matches that I saw I just thought he would fit the English game, and I know he's a sound character through Yossi, so that always helps and reassures you. I think he'll settle really quickly and Yossi will obviously help him settle into the area as well.

"I just felt that he was a good player to take. We've got Yossi here and it all just stacked up for me. If Yossi was having problems then this Katan deal might not have happened."

The 24-year-old will have his work cut out gaining a place in the team owing to the fine form of our striking trio this season, but if he can make a similar impact to his compatriot then everyone at Upton Park will be delighted.

"Yossi's been fantastic for us, obviously Katan has a different style, but if he can make an impact in his own style that'll be great.

"He knows that coming to English football from the football that he's come from is a big jump; and with the players we've got he knows he's coming into a big pool, I made that clear to him. He's not going to get an automatic start."

Yaniv represents another emerging talent added to the ranks, something which Alan has always tried to do in building for the future.

"I can't speak for the fans but I'm very proud of the signings that I've made. I like to think I've got a good eye for younger players especially, and he fits that bill.

"Some come through much quicker than others but most of the players I've signed I've been lucky and had decent success with.

"It's dangerous to say you only sign one type of players. I mostly sign younger players and I look for that hunger, but if I see that in a senior player like Teddy or Roy Carroll as long as that hunger's in them I'm attracted to them."