Lopez becomes latest recruit

West Ham United are delighted to announce the signing of Uruguay left-back Walter Lopez on a one-year contract.

After deciding to leave River Plate in his homeland, the 22-year-old was a free agent and had attracted the attention of leading clubs across Europe. However, he agreed to sign for West Ham United after impressing in training and a behind closed doors practice game. Capped three times by his country, Lopez is an attack-minded defender who can also play further forward in a midfield role.

He has been given the No5 shirt and has already impressed caretaker manager Kevin Keen in training. "Walter is a very attacking full-back who can get forward," he said. "Like David Di Michele, he is another West Ham-type player who will hopefully show everyone at the club what he can do." Lopez could well compete with Herita Ilunga for a starting place, with the Congolese defender due at the Boleyn Ground next week after international duty.

Lopez, who hails from Montevideo and has also had spells in Spain and Mexico, said: "I am really happy to be here and I hope to have a good career. Upton Park is a beautiful stadium and it will be great to play for West Ham. I am looking forward to it. It is a great club and there are some great players at the club. I know about many of them like Lucas Neill and Craig Bellamy. Everyone here has made me feel very welcome."

Although new to this country, Lopez is well aware what the English game is all about. He said: "I watch the Premier League all the time on TV. It is the No1 league in the world, the best and it is great to be a part of it. I am very happy that I am here and I get to play for West Ham. The fans are very passionate and I hope to show them what I can do." He added that he has ambitions to establish himself as an international regular but "first my priority is to show what I can do at West Ham. This is my team and where I will play".