Eyjolfsson capture heralds start

PUBLISHED: 11:05 10 July 2008 | UPDATED: 13:26 05 October 2010

HOT prospect Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson was officially unveiled as West Ham s first summer signing this week and the Icelandic defender has declared his excitement at securing a move to Upton Park. Eyjoflsson, who impressed West Ham boss Alan Curbishley during

HOT prospect Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson was officially unveiled as West Ham's first summer signing this week and the Icelandic defender has declared his excitement at securing a move to Upton Park.

Eyjoflsson, who impressed West Ham boss Alan Curbishley during a week-long trial in February, arrived at the club on Friday to sign a long-term deal, as revealed in the Advertiser last week.

The 17-year-old defender had emerged as a target for some of Europe's leading clubs following a series of strong displays in last year's European Under-19 championships.

But the youngster, who has already been capped at Under-21 level, rejected offers from clubs including Bayern Munich and Glasgow Rangers in favour of joining Icelandic chairman Bjorgolfur Gudmundsson at Upton Park.

Eyjolfsson admitted that he was attracted by the club's reputation for nurturing young talent.

"I am really happy to sign for West Ham," he said after passing a medical and joining his new team-mates for training at Chadwell Heath.

"I have heard of many good players that have come from the academy.

"When I was on trial in February I really enjoyed the tempo and style of training and it helped me take my talent to the next level."

Eyjolfsson, who made his debut for HK in the Icelandic Premiership at just 16, revealed that he was nervous about moving away from his homeland - but the lure of joining the Hammers was impossible to resist.

"It is obviously very scary to move away from my family but it is my dream to play in England and what I have always wanted to do so that outweighs any apprehension I had about moving here.

"Playing for the Under-21s has been the best experience for me and I am so grateful to the coach for giving me that opportunity as it has helped me develop my game so much quicker. I am sure that is part of the reason West Ham signed me."

Eyjolfsson's arrival marks the start of a new transfer policy for the Hammers, who have employed technical director Gianluca Nani (inset) to bring the world's leading teenagers to the club.

Hammers chairman Gudmundsson is anxious to avoid paying big bucks for established names and plans to recruit promising youngsters for modest fees to complement the club's academy graduates.

Nani, who began work at the club last week, will scour the globe for potential targets before handing his shortlist to Curbishley, who retains the final say on all new arrivals.

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