Rising Super Eagles star Samuel Chukwueze has seen one of his Villarreal team-mates leave the La Liga club as Spanish attacking midfielder, Pablo Fornals, has made the switch to Premier League side West Ham United.
— West Ham United (@WestHamUtd) June 14, 2019
23-year-old Fornals was signed by the Hammers in a deal that cost £24 million, with the former Malaga man penning a five-year deal with the option to extend his stay at the London Stadium by an additional year.
The Castellon-born player has already made more than 150 senior appearances and will join up with Manuel Pellegrini’s squad after representing his country at this summer’s UEFA European U21 Championship finals.
“I’m very happy to be part of West Ham,” Fornals told the club website from Madrid, where he has been preparing for the tournament. “I feel very good, very happy and very grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to me.”
Fornals went on to make a request of West Ham: “I want the Club to continue giving opportunities to young and ambitious people, people who want to do well for the long term.”
The player commented on his relationship with the West Ham boss: “I know him from when I was in Malaga. With Manuel, only when I saw him and admired him on TV. Of course, Manuel was a big influence because in the end he is one of the best coaches in the world and who doesn’t want to work with people like that?!”
Fornals made 50 appearances for the Yellow Submarines in all competitions in 2018/19, scoring five goals as the club finished 10th in La Liga and made it to the last eight of the Europa League before falling to near neighbours, Valencia, 5-1 on aggregate.
On his part, West Ham’s director of football Mario Husillos, who saw Fornals’ progress through the B team to make his La Liga debut in September 2015, said: “We are very happy to welcome Pablo to West Ham United as our third new signing this summer.”
Husillos added: “He is a player we have monitored closely for some time, having seen him make excellent progress as a young midfielder in one of the best leagues in the world. I know we have signed an incredible professional and an incredible character.”
Fornals, who could make his first appearance for the Hammers against Athletic Bilbao in a pre-season friendly, becomes the second most-expensive signing in the club’s history behind Felipe Anderson who was signed from Serie A side, SS Lazio, for £34 million in July 2018.
He joins a midfield full of other talented stars such as Manuel Lanzini, Jack Wilshere, Andriy Yarmolenko, Mark Noble, Declan Rice and Robert Snodgrass.
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