West Ham announce acquisition of Italy international Angelo Ogbonna
West Ham United (15/8 with Coral for a top 10 finish) have beaten several top clubs to the signature of Juventus centre back Angelo Ogbonna, securing the Italy international to a four-year contract at Upton Park for a reported fee of around £8.5m.
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Speaking of his move, Ogbonna told media: “I am delighted to have joined the club. I wanted to play in the Premier League and am happy to be in London. My heart told me that the right decision was to play for West Ham United.
“I cannot wait to start working under Mr Bilic and with my new team-mates. I feel ready for this new adventure.”
Everton were just one of the teams rumoured to be tracking the former Torino defender, who made the leap across town to bitter city rivals Juve in 2013, but failed to cement a regular starting spot with the Old Lady, who have the likes of Leonardo Bonucci, captain Giorgio Chiellini and Andrea Barzagli in his position.
Powerful Ogbonna still made 25 Serie A appearances last season, though he featured for a full 90 minutes on just 17 occasions, and also had to watch the Old Lady lose a Champions League final against Barcelona from the bench, despite Chiellini’s injury.
With young-gun Daniele Rugani also set to compete at centre half next season, the writing was on the wall for Ogbonna, who will add much-needed pace and physicality to the Hammers’ rearguard.
The 27-year-old needs to be playing regularly if he is to regain favour in Azzurri ranks, as the centre half will surely want to improve on his 10 caps so far and make a case for inclusion should Italy qualify for Euro 2016 as expected.
Also able to operate as a left back, dynamic defender Ogbonna could not wish for a better tutor than former West Ham rearguard enforcer, and now coach, Slaven Bilic who certainly appreciates masterful backline marshals.
The jump from Italy to the Premier League should not trouble the tough tackling centre half, who will likely usurp 26-year-old James Tomkins to regularly partner impressive New Zealand Winston Reid at the heart of the Hammers’ defence.
West Ham have impressed so far this summer with their recruitment policy, strengthening midfield with the savvy signings of Dimitri Payet and Pedro Obiang, and have now added another excellent acquisition in Ogbonna, with further transfers reportedly on the way next week.