West Ham continue to work in the transfer market – perhaps with less panic now the club is stabilised following a series of morale-boosting wins .
The club has completed the deal to sign centre back José Fonte from Southampton for a fee of £8m, with the Portuguese Euro 2016 winner signing a two-and-a-half year contract.
While the signing might have appeared baffling at first, the reason became clear after manager Slaven Bilic announced that centre-back Angelo Ogbonna would be out for the rest of the season.
He will have an operation this week to resolve a knee problem that has been bothering him all season.
Bilic told the club's website : “He needs an operation on his knee to be fit long-term, and it was supposed to be a couple of weeks but we asked him to play a couple more games.
“He will now have it after today’s game which will rule him out until the end of the season. But we have Fonte now. He wasn’t even our target because we didn’t think he was going to be available but when we found out he was, we jumped on it straight away because he’s a great player.
Fonte said: “I signed for West Ham because they are a great club and a very big club,” Fonte said. “They have a lot of fans and I have known for a number of years how passionate they are.
“Slaven Bilic was also a very big influence. He sold me the project and the ambition of the club. I also have part of my family living in London and they are big West Ham fans. It just made sense for me.”
The club has also signed England Under-19 international Nathan Holland on a three-and-a-half-year deal from Everton, the club he joined aged nine.
“It’s amazing, I’m quite gobsmacked,” he said. “They’ve shown a lot of faith in me and I just want to repay that and kick on.
“It’s all a bit of a family thing down here. Everyone is close together. It’s a brilliant set up they’ve got and I think it will only help me improve. I think I can do that.”
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