McCarthy a happy Hammer

West Ham United are pleased to confirm the signing of South Africa striker Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee.

The UEFA Champions League-winning forward has joined on a permanent contract until summer 2012 after passing a medical and being granted a work permit. He will wear the No17 shirt and could make his debut in Saturday's Barclays Premier League match at Burnley.

McCarthy, his country's all-time leading goalscorer with 32 goals in 77 internationals, was thrilled to finally sign on at the Boleyn Ground. He said: "I am very pleased and extremely happy.

"This is a great club. The reason why I am happy that it has finally happened is because about five years ago I had a disappointing experience when I thought I was going to be a West Ham player until Porto pulled out and I had to go back.

"I would have loved this to be my first Premier League club, I went to Blackburn instead but West Ham kept on pursuing me and eventually I am here."

McCarthy's reputation rose while playing under Jose Mourinho at Porto, having first shot to prominence with AFC Ajax in the Netherlands. He then moved on to Celta Vigo in Spain before his hugely successful stay in Portugal.

He scored 12 goals in his first eleven matches while on loan in 2001/02 before winning the domestic golden boot in the triumphant 2003/04 Champions League campaign with 20 goals in 23 matches.

He joined Blackburn in July 2006 - a year after his proposed move to West Ham fell through - and went on to score 37 goals in 109 league matches. Already friendly with many of his new team-mates, McCarthy, 32, has spoken of the warm welcome he has received from everyone at the Boleyn Ground.

"I am looking forward to making up for lost time and I can't wait to make my debut. The reception I have got from everyone at the club and the fans I have already met in the street has been great. Everyone was optimistic and gave me a really good feeling.

"It left me thinking 'Wow, this is the club I want to play for'. Although I could have gone to other clubs, this was the only one I wanted. Blackburn were very good to me and I had a wonderful time there but now this is a new opportunity. This for me is fantastic and I can't wait to play for the manager.

"They wanted me before, it didn't happen but now the opportunity arises again and this time I am going to prove myself. It is my destiny to be here. All I want to do is score goals for West Ham and make the fans happy."

McCarthy is set to lead the line for his country at this summer's FIFA World Cup on home soil, having already played and scored at both the 1998 and 2002 finals.