Kovac signs

West Ham United have signed Czech Republic midfielder Radoslav Kovac on loan until the end of the season with a view to a possible permanent transfer.

The 29-year-old, who has been handed the No14 shirt, joins from Russian giants Spartak Moscow, where he was the captain, and can also play in central defence. The 6'3 Kovac, who played at the 2006 World Cup and Euro 2008, is vastly experienced and caught the eye at Wembley last August when the Czechs more than held their own in the 2-2 friendly draw with England.


He is set to play for his country in next month's friendly against Morocco, having appeared in their last World Cup qualifier back in November. At club level, Kovac has also played 14 games in the UEFA Champions League, with one goal, as well as gaining UEFA Cup experience.

Gianfranco Zola said: "I am pleased to have Radoslav here. He has a lot of experience with the national team and he will give us competition in a midfield which is already very strong. I am sure he will help us with what we are trying to achieve this season."

Kovac arrived at the Boleyn Ground on Friday to finalise the deal and have a medical. He watched his new team-mates being put through their paces by Gianfranco Zola, Steve Clarke and Kevin Keen. Negotiations were completed on Friday evening to allow him to join a strong Czech contingent at the club following goalkeepers Marek Stech and Jan Lastuvka, along with Ludek Miklosko.

West Ham United CEO Scott Duxbury said: "I am delighted we have managed to secure the services of a proven international like Radoslav ahead of interest from clubs at home and abroad. He brings considerable quality and will fit right into Gianfranco Zola's talented squad. The deal is such that the manager will be able to sign him permanently in the summer if he so wishes."