Yossi's Premier League Dream

ISRAELI international midfielder Yossi Benayoun insists that it's a dream to have joined and Premier League club and now the 25-year-old is looking forward to making a big impact at Upton Park this season.

Signed last week from La Liga club Racing Santander, and a former teenage star at Maccabi Haifa, Yossi is excited by his move to London and explains that he's settling in well to life in East London.

"It's a fantastic challenge to come to the Premier League and a dream move for me," he said. "It is the best league in the world, with some of the best players, and I am very grateful to West Ham United for giving me the opportunity to come to the Premiership.

"It's exciting for me to be playing at West Ham United and I am determined to do my best for the team in the coming season. The Club has only just been promoted, but the atmosphere is very positive and everyone, from the manager and coaches to the players, believes that we can achieve a good finish in the Premiership next season.

"For promoted teams it is always difficult to adjust, but we have some excellent players in the squad with lots of experience and that will be very important. After only a few days in training I can already see that we have a very strong squad of players with competition for places in almost every position. For a Premier League club that is very important and hopefully I can add to the squad in any way I can."

It is no secret that Yossi sought the advice of countryman Eyal Berkovic before deciding to sign for the Hammers, and he revealed how the Israeli legend's words of praise for the Club helped to make up his mind.

"I knew Bolton Wanderers were also interested in me, but when I spoke to Eyal about West Ham he said that this was the club to join," explained Yossi. "After that I had no hesitation in signing. I had already been very impressed with the ambitions of the Club and the plans of the manager, who is determined to help the Club progress on the pitch.

"Eyal also explained to me the passion of the West Ham United fans and the feeling of playing for such a crowd.

"After speaking to him I wanted to be a part of the team here and was delighted when the signing was agreed."

Renowned as a midfield playmaker, the slightly built Yossi is a likely candidate to fill a similar role to that of Teddy Sheringham. The Israeli star is certainly looking forward to learning from the former England great and insists that he'll be more than capable of handling the physical demands of the Premiership.

"I know that the English league is very physical, but I believe in my ability to handle the pace of the game in England," he said. "I am delighted to be playing in the Premier League and I think that I can do a good job for the team.

"Strength is something I'm sure that I will work on during the coming weeks to make sure I am ready by the start of the season.

"I am mostly an attacking midfielder. That is where I have played for my previous clubs and also in international football. But my role is down to the manager and I will play wherever he asks me to.

"I know Teddy Sheringham is an excellent player and if I am competing with him for my place then it will be difficult. But there are lots of very talented players at the Club and I will just try to do my best to impress the manager.

"There are players at West Ham United who I can learn a lot from and hopefully I can do that over the season to improve as a player.

"There is a strong team principle at the Club and a desire to work for the good of the squad. That is definitely how it should be and I am looking forward to being a part of that."

After three successful seasons in Spain with Racing Santander, where he netted 21 times in 101 appearances, which followed on from four remarkable terms at Maccabi Haifa, Yossi is certainly a well-travelled player who should have no problems settling into London life.

Certainly the recent events in the Capital have not detered the player from believing he can enjoy an excellent life in East London with the Hammers.

"I am pleased to have come to London and I believe my family will settle well here," he said. "I have a wife and young son who will be arriving in England soon and now we are just trying to find a house and somewhere comfortable to live.

"The recent events in London were a tragedy for the people of the city, but that did not put me off wanting to join West Ham United.

"I have lived with similar problems back home and sympathise with the London people. But it is not my place to get involved in politics. I just want to concentrate on doing my job for the Club and living happily here."

Yossi has so far had just three days training with his new colleagues after arriving back from Israel at the start of this week. But the midfielder has already been impressed with the atmosphere around the squad and believes that it will help the Hammers as they approach the new season.

"The players have all been good to me since I arrived and they've made me feel welcome at the Club," he said. "They have a good spirit, and I think that is going to be very important as the Club approaches it's first season back in the Premier League.

"There is a lot of belief and confidence in the squad and hopefully we can get off to a good start this season and achieve a good finish for the Club."