Wednesday, July 06, 2005


Konchabbidollins Signs

As expected, the Cardiff centre-back pairing of Danny Gabbidon and James Collins have signed for the Irons, as has former Academy graduate (and West Ham fan) Paul Konchesky.

All three have been capped, Gabbidon being a regular side in the Wales squad, Collins having gained five Welsh caps, and Konchesky appearing once for England against Australia at Upton Park.

Pardew said, "Danny can compete at the highest level, James is an excellent prospect and Paul's a top player."

He is particularly excited about Gabbidon. "Danny comes to West Ham United with a lot of experience for a player of his age. At just 25 years old he is already a key player for the Welsh national team and has shown a lot of maturity in his performances. Pace and agility will be his major assets as Danny makes the transition to the Premier League."

He said of the 21-year-old Collins, "James is probably lacking experience as he joins the club, but do not underestimate his potential."

It appears that Konchesky will play the strongest part in Pardew's plans. "He is only 24 but has well over 100 Premier League games to his name and I feel he can only get better from here. His great strength is going forward from full-back and that could be a real asset this season."

Alan's evaluations of the new signings suggest that Konchesky will be a first team player at the expense of Powell, Gabbidon will be direct competition against current centrebacks, and Collins will head into the reserve squad for now. It's possible that the young lad could go out on loan.

Konchesky is looking forward to the new challenge with his favoured club. "It’s a dream come true, absolutely fantastic," he said. "As a young lad I was a mad West Ham fan and in fact I played for the Club when I was younger. To play for the team you've always supported is a big dream for any player and to come back to West Ham and get the chance to play for them in the Premiership is unbelievable. This is a real strong group of players and if we play well as a team then we'll have a great chance of not only surviving in the Premier League, but also taking the club forward over the next few seasons."

Gabbidon is relishing the chance to play in the top league. "Without doubt it’s a dream come true for me. A move to the Premiership with a massive club like West Ham United is just a fantastic opportunity and now I hope to take advantage."

His Cardiff and Wales colleague Collins waxed lyrical about West Ham and the squad. "After winning promotion through the Play-offs West Ham United are a club moving in the right direction. There is a positive feeling around the place and that’s very important for me. I was impressed with the manager and staff and their plans for the team and I want to be a part of that progress. It’s not going to be easy for either me or Danny to break in. This is an excellent squad of players and we’re going to have to perform to our peak just to make the team. Anton Ferdinand and Elliott Ward are two superb players. They had a great end to the season and played a big part in the Club’s promotion. But to have four or five top defenders pushing for places is a great thing for the Club and it means whoever is in the team is playing at the top of their game."

No doubt the Welsh pair will be welcomed into the squad by fellow countrymen Carl Fletcher and Gavin Williams.

The transfer cost to the club has been estimated variously between £4 million and £5.5 million, and all players have been signed to "long term" deals (read: probably 2-3 years). This means that probably a little less than half of Pardew's purported £20 million transfer kitty has been spent.

*Rumours say that Alan is chasing Porto's striker Benni McCarthy. The brilliant 27-year-old former Champions League (with Porto) and Dutch League (with Ajax) winner would be a spectacular, if expensive, signing.

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