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West Ham completes £24m deal for Pablo Fornals from Villarreal

West Ham have pulled off a coup by completing the £24million signing of Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals from Villarreal.

The exciting playmaker joins the Hammers on a five-year deal, with the option of a further 12 months, and becomes their second-most expensive signing after £42m Brazilian Felipe Anderson.

Fornals caught the Hammers' eye with his displays for Villarreal last season, impressing in both La Liga and the Europa League.

He has worked with West Ham's director of football Mario Husillos at Malaga where Fornals started his senior career.

West Ham turned to the 23 year-old Spanish international after hitting a stumbling block in their attempts to land Stanislav Lobotka from Celta Vigo, though they remain in the hunt for his striker teammate Maxi Gomez.

And they wasted little time wrapping up the deal for Fornals after opening talks with Villarreal this week.

Fornals will link up with the Hammers after representing Spain in this summer's European Under-21 Championships which get underway this weekend.

Fornals, West Ham's third summer signing, said: 'I'm very happy to be part of West Ham. I feel very good, very happy and very grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to me.
'I want the club to continue giving opportunities to young and ambitious people, people who want to do well for the long term.

'I know about the loyal fans and the stadium, which is a beautiful stadium. The fans fill the stadium every weekend and that is something admirable, especially with the passion with which football is lived there. I think it is important to play with the support of your fans at home.'

'I have worked with Mario before - I know him from when I was in Malaga. With Manuel, only when I saw him and admired him on TV. Of course, Manuel was a big influence because in the end he is one of the best coaches in the world and who doesn't want to work with people like that?!'

Husillos said: 'He is a player we have monitored closely for some time, having seen him make excellent progress as a young midfielder in one of the best leagues in the world.

'I personally have followed his career since he was a youth player with me at Malaga, and I know we have signed an incredible professional and an incredible character.
'This is something that is very important for us at West Ham United now – not only a very good player but also a very good person with a good mentality.

'To represent Spain as a full international at the age of 20, and then to have made over 150 appearances in La Liga by the age of 23, is a sign of great quality and character.

'He joins us a young player still with many years ahead of him, yet with strong experience and already proven at the very highest level.

'We believe that his style and ability complements perfectly the midfielders already at the club, and we are very pleased to have secured his signing so early in the summer. Now he will go to Italy to play for Spain in the Under-21 European Championships, where we hope we will have success before coming to London.

'We look forward to seeing the impact he will have in a West Ham shirt, and believe that he has all of the qualities required to become a big success in the Premier League.'

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