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News & Comment

West Ham close in on Mexico winger Pablo Barrera

West Ham hope to announce "at least one exciting new signing" today - with the Barclays Premier League club closing in on the signatures of Mexico winger Pablo Barrera and former Portsmouth striker Frederic Piquionne.

Avram Grant, appointed following the dismissal of Gianfranco Zola at the end of last season, intends to bring in at least a couple more quality additions before the new campaign kicks off at Aston Villa on August 14.

While deals for Barrera, understood to have now obtained a work permit, and Piquionne, in a reported £1million permanent move from Lyon, look set to be completed shortly, it has emerged the Hammers now face competition from Liverpool in the chase for £12m-rated Nice striker Loic Remy.

A club statement read: "West Ham United are pleased to announce the club should be in a position to announce at least one exciting new signing on Friday.

"With the first-team squad flying out from London Heathrow to their German training camp on Friday morning, the hard work on bringing new faces to the Boleyn Ground is continuing, with an announcement expected to be made before the end of the day.

"The club is hoping to bring in at least two more new faces, adding international strength to Avram Grant's squad ahead of the start of the new Barclays Premier League season."

Thomas Hitzlsperger, the former Villa midfielder who arrived on a free transfer from Lazio, made his debut in the 2-1 win at Peterborough, where Academy graduate Anthony Edgar impressed with what proved to be the winning goal.

The 19-year-old midfielder - who came on as a substitute in the Hammers' third-round FA Cup defeat to Arsenal last season - hopes to give Grant plenty to think about as he finalises plans for the new campaign as the squad head out to Germany, where they will play Bundesliga side Borussia Monchengladbach in Ruhpolding on Saturday and then face Panathinaikos.

"I was just happy to get on and show what I can do," Edgar told http://www.whufc.com.

"I enjoyed it in there. It is all about experience and wherever the manager puts me, I will play and try to play to my best.

"I was so pleased to get a chance to show what I can do."

Edgar maintained: "I am just going to do what I do best which is play. Hopefully I can do that and push on from there."

Even though West Ham are investing in new players this summer, owners David Gold and David Sullivan are also aware of the need to offset that against the club's crippling debt levels.

Greek club Olympiacos are said to be tracking both Alessandro Diamanti and Radoslav Kovac, while Aston Villa continue to show interest in Scott Parker, but perhaps only seriously if James Milner were to leave for Manchester City.

Those West Ham players who had some extra time off after the World Cup - including England duo Robert Green and Matthew Upson - will head out to Germany.

On their return, the Irons head to MK Dons on July 28 and then npower Championship side Ipswich before the visit of Spanish outfit Deportivo La Coruna to Upton Park in their final pre-season fixture.