Benni moves to West Ham

Benni McCarthy completed his long-anticipated move to West Ham United from Premier League rivals Blackburn Rovers on Monday’s transfer deadline day.

McCarthy joined for an undisclosed fee on a contract that will keep the 32-year-old at Upton Park until 2012.

“West Ham United are pleased to confirming the signing of South Africa striker Benni McCarthy from Blackburn Rovers for an undisclosed fee,” said a West Ham statement.

McCarthy, who could make his debut for the London side in Saturday’s league match against Burnley, said he had wanted West Ham to be his first club in English football when he left Portuguese side Porto.

“I am very pleased and extremely happy,” McCarthy, South Africa’s record goal-scorer, with 32 goals in 77 internationals, told West Ham’s website.

“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 pursuing me and eventually I am here,” added McCarthy, who scored 37 goals in 109 league matches for Rovers after arriving at Ewood Park in July 2006.

McCarthy had grown disillusioned with his lack of first-team starts under Rovers manager Sam Allardyce and wanted a move to ensure regular football in the run-up to the World Cup finals in his home country in June and July.

West Ham are 15th in the table but just a point above the relegation zone. — AFP

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