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Hammers impose Nani state

PUBLISHED: 15:37 20 March 2008 | UPDATED: 13:08 05 October 2010

GIANLUCA Nani has promised to turn West Ham into a leading force in European football by bringing the best young players in the world to Upton Park. The 45-year-old Italian was officially unveiled as the club s sporting director this week and revealed tha

GIANLUCA Nani has promised to turn West Ham into a leading force in European football by bringing the best young players in the world to Upton Park.

The 45-year-old Italian was officially unveiled as the club's sporting director this week and revealed that he will immediately turn his attention to scouring the globe for the finest fledgling talent.

"I have to build a system to discover in advance the best young players and bring them here," he said. "We're in a global market and we'll look for the best players coming from abroad.

"This club has really incredible potential and we have to work to realise this potential going forward."

Nani has been technical director at Brescia since 1999, where he was responsible for signing Roberto Baggio and developing the talents of Italy internationals Andrea Pirlo and Luca Toni.

He will officially begin his new role in June, but has already discussed potential targets with Alan Curbishley, and the West Ham boss believes the partnership will help the club compete with the Premier League's leading clubs for young talent.

"We're trying to plan for the future and, if we're going to try to attract 16, 17 and 18-year-olds from elsewhere, we need the knowledge and the networking that Gianluca can bring us," said Curbishley.

"We're competing in a massive market both domestically and on foreign shores and we've got to be better. I think we've seen young players coming into clubs and everyone is scratching their heads as to how that happened.

"Arsenal have been very successful at that in recent years and we just want to be on a level playing field. I want to know why Arsenal have taken a player and we haven't done anything about it."

Nani's scouting network will focus on unearthing foreign talent, but he stressed that his work would not undermine the club's reputation for producing local young players.

"I'm here to build something, not to break it," he said. "Bringing players from abroad doesn't mean we will stop working with English players.

"I know the academy of West Ham is one of the best in the world for the players they have developed over the years.

"We have to be proud of the work we have done with players like Frank Lampard and Joe Cole. We have to follow those traditions but it doesn't mean that we don't have the chance to discover in advance a player like Kaka or Adriano - why not?"

Curbishley added that the move had received the backing of academy chief Tony Carr, who has been responsible for the club's production line of young talent for more than 30 years.

"I spoke to Tony Carr and [chief scout] Jimmy Hampson and they've welcomed the appointment because they know that all we want is to make West Ham better.

"The major part of it is that we're going to try and attract as many young players, firstly, and senior players, secondly, to

the club.

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