Soccer: West Ham pay $8.7m for Reid

By Terry Maddaford

West Ham have forked out the big bucks to lure star All Whites defender Winston Reid to Upton Park.

Sources in the UK last night confirmed the East London club have agreed to pay Reid's Danish club FC Midtjylland £4 million ($8.7 million) in a transfer deal that would see the 22-year-old join fellow All Whites Ryan Nelsen (Blackburn Rovers) and Chris Wood (West Brom) in this season's English Premier League.

He will join Lee Norfolk, Danny Hay and Simon Elliott as the only other New Zealanders to play at that level.

All Whites assistant coach Brian Turner welcomes the news and has no doubt that Reid can cut it in the big time.

"Winston is worth every penny they have paid.

"He is going to be a very good footballer," said Turner. "He is fully capable of playing at that level. He can become the next Ryan Nelsen of New Zealand football."

Reid, who scored the last ditch header against Slovakia in the World Cup, is the latest in a number of signings by Hammers boss Avram Grant. He bought German midfielder Thomas Hitzlsperger from Lazio for £2.48 million, Mexican winger Pablo Barrera from Pumas for £3.89 million and French striker Frederic Piquionne from Lyon for £994,000.

Grant has also brought in Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim, 28, on loan from Portsmouth until January.

West Ham had also planned to sign Argentine striker Milton Caraglio, 22, from Rosario Central but pulled out of that deal when Caraglio failed the stringent West Ham medical.

New Zealand Football chairman Frank van Hattum also welcomed the news of Reid's signing with one of the long-established English clubs.

"It is great news," said van Hattum.

"But now we have to hope he gets to play and gets decent game time.

"Winston is such a great athlete he deserves a chance like this."

- NZ Herald

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