Katan Completes Signing

Yaniv Katan arrived at Upton Park on Tuesday morning to complete his signing from Maccabi Haifa, and admitted he was fulfilling a lifelong ambition in the process.

The Israel international striker put pen to paper on a four-year contract to become Alan Pardew's first signing in the January transfer window and, having flown in to London on Monday afternoon, revealed that he had been in a rush to enjoy his first taste of Premiership football.

"All my life I have dreamed of playing in England and this is a very happy day for me," said the 24-year-old. "I hope to be very successful with West Ham United and I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates.

"I only arrived in England yesterday. I wanted to come here to watch the match against Chelsea but my plane didn't land in time! I didn't manage to watch it on TV either, but I saw Yossi Benayoun in the evening and he told me all about it."

The presence of Yossi has certainly been an important factor in Yaniv's decision to leave his homeland and begin a new career and life in England. The pair have been close friends since their youth team days in Israel, and it's clear our skilful midfielder played a big part in persuading his former Maccabi Haifa team-mate to follow him to Upton Park.

"It is fantastic for me that Yossi is here," said Yaniv, who has so far won 13 caps and scored one goal for his country. "We played together at Maccabi Haifa and for the national team. In fact, we roomed together on away trips with the national team, so we are very good friends and I have kept in touch with him since he moved to England.

"Yossi has told me a lot about West Ham United, he said that everyone at the club is very nice, the players are all good friends and that the supporters are fantastic. Of course, Yossi is one of the big reasons I came to West Ham United, and now I am just looking forward to being able to train with him and the rest of my team-mates."

Having completed his move, Yaniv is now available for selection and is hoping to be included in Alan Pardew's squad for the FA Cup third round tie at Norwich City on Saturday. However, he admits that it will take him time to settle in and says he is prepared to wait for his chance to impress.

"Every player wants to be successful but first of all I want to get to know my team-mates and get used to life here," he said.

"Everything takes time and I don't know when I will play. I need to make the first practice and we will see what happens after that.

"I like to play as a wide attacking player, but the main thing I can tell the fans here is that I play for the good of the team and always give everything I have. I am so excited about the opportunity I have been given and I really can't wait to play for West Ham United."

West Ham United's legal director Scott Duxbury said: "We are delighted that Yaniv has completed his transfer. There were a number of other European clubs looking at him and, with the transfer fee set at only £100,000, we had to move quickly to make the signing.

"We felt that, given the size of the fee, it was an opportunity we couldn't miss. Yaniv will hopefully prove an excellent addition, and we are now working hard to strengthen the squad further during the transfer window."

Position: Striker
Squad No: 18
Born: Kiryat Ata, Israel
Date of Birth: January 27, 1981
Height:  6ft 2ins              
Weight: 13st
Previous clubs: Maccabi Haifa (1990-2005)
Joined West Ham United: January 1, 2006
Israeli League Championship 2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05
Israeli Cup Runner-up: 2001-02
13 full caps for Israel