• by Staff Writer
  • Thursday, 19th June 2014

Sam Allardyce says he is delighted to have acquired the services of defensive midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate.

The Senegal international put pen to paper on a four-year contract earlier this week and becomes Big Sam's second signing of pre-seaon following the arrival of Argentinian forward Mauro Zarate last month.

"We're delighted to have secured what has been one of our top targets so early in the pre-season," Allardyce told "Kouyate goes box to box and has excellent skills with both feet as well as being strong in the air. If needed, he can also fill in at centre back.

"He is only 24 and he was insistent that West Ham was his choice of club. Valencia and a few other top clubs were after him, but he wanted to come here and I am looking forward to him having a bright future here."

Allardyce was especially pleased to have landed a second major signing so early in the trasnfer window. "The importance of getting a top target so early is vital to that player being here for the start of pre-season, especially coming from abroad," he said.

"He can get to know his team-mates at the beginning and integrate himself and bond with the rest of the team before the season begins, we get to know what he is about and he gets to know about us.

"It has been a long pursuit, with the Joint-Chairmen, myself and Martyn [Glover] to get him, but we have got him and we look forward to seeing him in a West Ham shirt in the new season."

Kouyate, who gave his first interview in French was equally delighted to be at the West Ham - and insisted that Allardyce played a major part in his decision to leave Anderlecht for the Premier League.

"Sam went out of his way, leaving his holiday for me, so he has done everything he could for me to join the club," he revealed. "That I'm here now is thanks to the manager, because he convinced me.

"He, my advisers and agents helped me make the right decision and said West Ham was the ideal club for me, because as a kid I dreamed of playing in the Premier League and now it's here that my dream has been realised."

You may see the full interview with Cheikhou here.

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