West Ham United said yesterday that the £5m signing of the Switzerland defender Valon Behrami underlines their commitment to challenging for a place in the Premier League's elite. They stressed that remains the case despite reports suggesting that manager Alan Curbishley must trim his expensive playing staff for the new season. Behrami's arrival from Lazio comes a week after striker Bobby Zamora and defender John Pantsil were sold for a combined £6.3m fee to Fulham. There has been speculation that captain Lucas Neill, striker Carlton Cole and centre-back Anton Ferdinand could be among the high-profile sales to balance the books after major transfer market business in the last two seasons. But West Ham, whose only summer signings until the arrival of 23-year-old Behrami were 17-year-olds Homar Orn Eyjolfsson and Bálint Bajner, have also awarded major new contracts to striker Dean Ashton and left-back George McCartney. The chief executive Scott Duxbury believes the signing of Behrami shows the club remains focused on improving the side. Duxbury said: "Valon will be a valuable addition as we aim for a successful season ahead. We beat off a lot of competition from other clubs to sign him and it indicates the club's positive ambitions."
Cattermole prepares for Wigan switch
Middlesbrough midfielder Lee Cattermole has been given permission to talk to Wigan Athletic and undergo a medical after the clubs agreed an undisclosed fee. But the Teessiders do not expect any deal to be completed until next week. Cattermole was withdrawn from the squad for Tuesday night's 1-1 draw with Celtic in Portugal after Wigan tabled their improved offer. Cattermole made his full debut for Boro in January 2006, but has struggled to establish himself in the team since Gareth Southgate took over as manager later that year.
Transfer chat caught on the net
Emre set to leave Newcastle?
I think you will all join in singing "Hallelujah". Geordielegend newcastleunited.rivals.net
Should Chelsea sign Robinho?
Robinho would be a great signing for us. We need good wingers, he's got good skills, he can score, and he sees good passes. Chelsea10 forums.cfcnet.co.uk
Very much doubt he'd be any good – his style is too suited to Spain. Sir Robben forums.cfcnet.co.uk
Behrami moves to West Ham
From what I've seen I think he looks a cracking player. I don't normally say this about transfers, but I will be excited to see him in a Hammers shirt! Kentammer www.kumb.com/forum
Yesterday's completed moves:
Valon Behrami (Lazio) to West Ham; £5m
Belözolu Emre (Newcastle) to Fenerbahce; Undisclosed
Matt Bailey (Wolverhampton Wanderers) to Burton; Loan
Nicky Deverdics (unattached) to Barnet
Emmanuel Mendy (Murcia Deportivo) to Liverpool; Free
Ben Starosta (Sheffield United) to Aldershot; Loan
David Bell (Luton) to Norwich; Undisclosed
Florian Sturm (FC Vaduz) to MK Dons; Free
Jose Fonte (Benfica) to Crystal Palace; Loan
Isaiah Rankin (unattached) to Crawley
Simon Thomas (Boreham Wood) to Crystal Palace; Undisclosed
Lewis Hunt (Southend) to Wycombe; Free
Mickael Darnet (AS Cannes) to Nottingham Forest; Undisclosed
Scott Davies (Reading) to Aldershot; Loan