Kepa completes loan move from Sevilla

West Ham United can confirm that we have now completed the signing of Spanish striker Kepa Blanco from Sevilla on loan until the end of the season.

The 23-year-old has passed a medical and finalised terms on a deal that will see him spend the rest of the campaign at Upton Park, with the Club retaining an exclusive option to make the transfer permanent if desired.

Born in Marbella in January 1984, Kepa joined Sevilla as a schoolboy and progressed through the youth ranks before making his senior debut in a UEFA Cup match against AEK Athens in December 2004.

His Primera Liga debut followed later that season against Atletico Madrid, but it wasn't until the start of the 2005-06 campaign that he made a notable impact, scoring his first goal in a 1-0 victory over Racing Santander on the opening day, before going on to make 11 starts and 20 substitute appearances in the League and UEFA Cup, notching seven goals in the process, including a memorable winner against Barcelona.

Kepa was an unused substitute as Sevilla enjoyed glory in the UEFA Cup final with a 4-0 victory over Middlesbrough last May, but he kicked off this season by scoring a hat-trick in a 4-0 win over Levante and scored three goals in six UEFA Cup appearances before falling out of favour with coach Juande Ramos.

The former Spanish under-21 international made his latest appearance for Sevilla in a 0-0 draw against Rayo Vallecano in the Spanish Copa del Rey on January 10, replacing former Hammers striker Fredi Kanoute.

Described by manager Alan Curbishley as a typically old-fashioned centre-forward who is strong in the air and has an eye for goal, Kepa will be eligible for our FA Cup fourth round tie against Watford on Saturday.


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