Ilunga slams quit rumours

PUBLISHED: 10:56 11 December 2008 | UPDATED: 13:52 05 October 2010

Herita Ilunga has hit out at speculation linking him with a summer exit from West Ham after revealing he is keen to sign a permanent deal at Upton Park

HERITA ILUNGA has hit out at speculation linking him with a summer exit from West Ham after revealing he is keen to sign a permanent deal at Upton Park.

The Congo defender was rumoured to be seeking a move away from east London after newspaper reports attributed to him descried the Hammers as "a second-rate club".

But Ilunga has denied that he is using West Ham as a stepping stone and insists the true meaning of his comments was lost in translation.

The 23-year-old, who joined the Hammers on a season-long loan deal from Toulouse in August, actually referred to the club as a "second-level team" - outside the Premier League's big four of Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool and Arsenal.

And Ilunga has underlined his desire to stay at Upton Park by revealing that he is hopeful of signing a new long-term contract at West Ham when his current loan deal expires.

He said: "I love being at West Ham. I want to be a success here and help us to challenge in the Premier League. I am very impressed with the ambition here and want to stay for a long time.

"Things have gone very well for me, better than I had hoped. The fans are great. They always show their support during the matches. I have felt an instant connection with them.

"This is a big club and we have a great tradition and history - I am very proud to be here.

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