West Ham sign Pablo Fornals from Villarreal on a five-year deal

Pablo Fornals has signed a five-year contract with West Ham, with an option of a further 12 months

Pablo Fornals is West Ham's second most expensive signing
Image: Pablo Fornals is West Ham's second most expensive signing

West Ham have announced the signing of Spain international attacking midfielder Pablo Fornals from Villarreal.

West Ham are paying £24m (€27m) for the 23-year-old, making him the second-most expensive signing in the club's history behind Felipe Anderson, who cost £42m when he joined from Lazio last summer.

Fornals, who has signed a five-year contract with an option of a further 12 months, 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's official website. "I feel very good, very happy and very grateful for the opportunity that has been provided to me.

"I want the club to continue giving opportunities to young and ambitious people, people who want to do well for the long term.

"I know about the loyal fans and the stadium, which is a beautiful stadium. The fans fill the stadium every weekend and that is something admirable, especially with the passion with which football is lived there. I think it is important to play with the support of your fans at home."

Image: Pablo Fornals scored twice and had three assists in 28 La Liga appearances for Villareal last season

Fornals, who was first targeted by Manuel Pellegrini in January, has been capped twice by Spain, and moved to Villarreal from Malaga in 2017.

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West Ham director of football Mario Husillos worked with Fornals at Malaga and he is confident he will succeed in the Premier League.

"We are very happy to welcome Pablo to West Ham United as our third new signing this summer," Fornals said.

"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 personally have followed his career since he was a youth player with me at Malaga, and I know we have signed an incredible professional and an incredible character.

Pablo Fornals has been capped twice by Spain
Image: Pablo Fornals has been capped twice by Spain

"This is something that is very important for us at West Ham United now - not only a very good player but also a very good person with a good mentality.

"To represent Spain as a full international at the age of 20, and then to have made over 150 appearances in La Liga by the age of 23, is a sign of great quality and character. He joins us a young player still with many years ahead of him, yet with strong experience and already proven at the very highest level.

"We believe that his style and ability complements perfectly the midfielders already at the club, and we are very pleased to have secured his signing so early in the summer. Now he will go to Italy to play for Spain in the Under-21 European Championships, where we hope we will have success before coming to London.

"We look forward to seeing the impact he will have in a West Ham shirt, and believe that he has all of the qualities required to become a big success in the Premier League."

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