Guillermo Franco

Guillermo Franco enjoyed a month to remember in October 2009.

The striker helped Mexico to qualify for the FIFA World Cup finals with three assists in a 4-1 defeat of Honduras and then made his West Ham United debut away to Stoke City as a late substitute in the 2-1 defeat on 17 October. He got his first start for the club a week later in the 2-2 home draw with Arsenal.

The Argentinian-born forward, nicknamed Guille, had arrived at the club the previous month fresh from his goalscoring exploits with his adopted country. He had scored four goals in his six internationals since the previous June - a major contribution in qualifying for South Africa in summer 2010.

Having left La Liga giants Villarreal at the end of the 2008/09 season, he had been linked with a move to South American champions Estudiantes as well as two other Spanish clubs. However, CEO Scott Duxbury and technical director Gianluca Nani secured his services after positive negotiations.

Franco said: "I am really happy to sign for West Ham. It was my dream to come to the Premier League and I am proud to play for a club that has so much history. This is a very important stage in my career and I hope to score lots of goals for the club this season and then play at the World Cup.

"This is an important team with great players and a great manager. I know that the club are very ambitious and want to do well. I want to do my best to make that happen and I am excited about the challenge.

"The main motivation was to play in the Premier League. I love English football and I love the Premier League. I had the possibility of joining Estudiantes and two Spanish clubs, but it was the Premier League that drew me here. I can fulfil my desire with West Ham and I am very happy to be here."

After starting with San Lorenzo in Argentina, Franco shot to attention with Mexican side CF Monterey, scoring 63 goals in 119 league appearances including a league title in his first campaign and two runners-up medals after that. He earned a high-profile move to Villarreal in January 2006 and, after appearing at the World Cup finals later that summer, helped them qualify for the Champions League with eight goals in the 2007/08 season from 16 starts and eight substitute appearances.

The 32-year-old played six times in Europe's premier club competition in the 2008/09 season, including the 1-1 home draw with Arsenal in the quarter-finals on 7 April. He also has experience of playing at the Boleyn Ground, having figured for 67 minutes in the inaugural Bobby Moore Cup against West Ham United a year ago, with the match finishing in a 1-1 draw.

The striker, who also scored in the final as Mexico won their continental Gold Cup in June 2009 with a 5-0 defeat of the United States, is the first Mexican international to play for West Ham.