Luis ready to roll

Luis Jimenez will recognise a pair of familiar faces when he joins up with his new West Ham United team-mates later this month.

The Chile forward, who has joined the Hammers on a season-long loan from Italian Serie A champions Internazionale, has already spoken of his excitement at working under manager Gianfranco Zola, focussing on the duo's shared love of attacking football.

However, there were other factors behind Jimenez's decision to swap Milan for London.

"Gianluca Nani, the Technical Director, tried to sign me about six years ago for Brescia, when I first came through," said Jimenez, who moved from South America to Italian Serie B club Ternana at the age of 18 before enjoying spells with ACF Fiorentina and SS Lazio.

"I also played with Valon Behrami. He was my team-mate at Lazio. Valon is a great person and as a player I knew he had all the qualities to do well wherever he went. I am looking forward to playing with him once again and helping West Ham do well."

The 25-year-old's decision to join West Ham came with endorsement from the Internazionale manager Jose Mourinho, while team-mates Luis Figo and Patrick Vieira also spoke positively about the switch, which was finalised last week. Vieira was particularly upbeat, encouraging Jimenez to replicate the success that brought him three Premier League titles and four FA Cups during his time at Arsenal.

"I've spoken to Patrick about the Premier League and heard how much he loves it," revealed Jimenez. "He told me the fans in England are great and that if I ever had the chance to come here I should take it. Now I have that chance with West Ham."

Jimenez, who speaks only a little English, will be the second Chilean player to represent West Ham after Javier Margas, the central defender who played at the Boleyn Ground between 1998 and 2000. Naturally, he expected a positive reaction from his compatriot about his move. "I know him quite well now. He's going to be happy that I've signed for West Ham!"

In order to prove himself in Europe, Jimenez has not played for his country since March 2008, but he has kept a close eye on the team's fortunes as they stride towards the 2010 FIFA World Cup with arguably their best crop of players in years.

"The national team are playing well very," said Jimenez. "They have an Argentine coach, Marcelo Bielsa. Right now I think they're the team that are playing the best football in South American qualifying. When I signed for Inter, I wanted to do well there and I spoke to Bielsa and we agreed the best thing was I stayed there. I've been out of the national team but he took it well."

The West Ham forward has not ruled out a return to the international fold, but is first eager to show what he can do in English football with his new club.

"It depends on how I get on with my team, but I can imagine with West Ham everything will work out fine. I am looking forward to the challenge," he concluded.