Five-year deal with Benayoun will boost West Ham

West Ham have received another boost less than two weeks after the signing of Carlos Tevez and Javier Mascherano by securing the services of midfielder Yossi Benayoun for the next five years.

The Israeli international was much sought after during the summer - Arsenal and Liverpool were among his admirers - but he is set to pledge his long-term future to the east London club.

This will delight his manager, Alan Pardew, as he prepares West Ham for their Uefa Cup first round home leg against the Italian side Palermo tomorrow.

And Benayoun himself hopes success on the Continent can follow the possible foreign takeover of the club in which the transfers of Tevez and Mascherano were seemingly part of.

"I will sign in the next few days because everything is agreed and I will sign for five years," the 26-year-old said, "which shows I'm very happy here and the club is happy with me.

"I never said I wanted to leave and I was always concentrating and working hard in the summer.

"The deal is close to being done with the new owners and two world-class players have been brought in, so we can move onto the next level starting from Thursday. We already have a good spine to the team here. I believe in my team and there is good competition in the squad."

Benayoun is one of the few members of West Ham's squad with experience of European football, having performed on that stage with his former club Maccabi Haifa. But he is confident his team-mates have what it takes to perform at this level, adding: "We have a strong team so it shouldn't be a problem.

"Most European teams play quick, attacking football like we do, so if we play our best game and press opponents we will win games."

* Blackburn, who travel to Salzburg for their Uefa Cup first round first leg tomorrow, will be without Ryan Nelsen until Christmas after the defender underwent surgery yesterday to cure his long-standing hamstring injury. The New Zealand international centre-back has struggled with the problem since the start of the summer but was operated on by one of the leading surgeons for sports muscle injuries, Professor Sakari Orava of Finland.

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