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West Ham United confirm £25m arrival - Julen Lopetegui beats Chelsea, Man United to first summer signing

West Ham confirm £25m arrival - Lopetegui beats Chelsea, Man Utd to first signing
© Reuters
West Ham United announce the signing of an 18-year-old Brazilian starlet for a reported £25m, with Julen Lopetegui's side beating Chelsea and Manchester United to the winger's signature.

West Ham United have announced the signing of Brazilian starlet Luis Guilherme from Palmeiras.

The 18-year-old was identified by Hammers director of football Tim Steidten as a top summer target during a scouting mission in South America earlier this year.

Although a host of top European clubs, including Chelsea and Manchester United, were credited with an interest in Guilherme, the winger has decided to make the move to West Ham in a deal believed to be worth €23m (£19.4m) plus €7m (£5.9m) in add-ons.

Guilherme completed his medical on Tuesday and has since put pen to paper on a five-year contract that ties him to the London Stadium until 2029.

The highly-rated teenager becomes the first signing under new head coach Julen Lopetegui and will officially join West Ham on June 14 when the summer transfer window opens.

Guilherme explains decision to join West Ham

"I'm very happy to be signing with West Ham United, a club that trusted in my work," Guilherme told the club's official website. "I also want to thank everyone at West Ham, particularly Tim and his team who came to Brazil, and not only talked with me, but also with my family.

"They presented the project, and both my family and I liked it. So, I'm very happy to be signing with this club and hope to contribute as much as possible. If things go well, we have a beautiful journey ahead.

"The head coach and I already had a conversation. He showed me his project and I believe I'll learn a lot from him. He's coached at the national level in Spain and managed big clubs.

"The Premier League is the best league in the world. I believe I'll improve a lot here with the entire staff at West Ham, which is crucial for my development.

"Growing up, whenever I had the chance, I watched English football. Seeing how it is and now being able to play here is an incredible feeling.

"Since I was eleven, I had this dream, and now it's becoming a reality. I'm very happy about it and grateful to West Ham. Let's go for it!"

Steidten delighted to seal "very important signing"

Steidten has also expressed his delight for West Ham winning the race for Guilherme's signature and has discussed what the teenager can bring to the club under Lopetegui.

"We are really happy that Luis Guilherme is now a West Ham United player," said Steidten. "He is a very exciting young talent who we have followed for some time, and once we became aware that he was available, Julen and I were determined to bring him to London.

"Luis has enjoyed a fantastic start to his professional career with Palmeiras - naturally a wide player but with the flexibility to play across other attacking positions, which is an important and valuable factor in the modern game.

"He is technically very gifted, but also has very good physical qualities - great pace, strength and stamina, and these are traits that will help him to adapt to the demands of the Premier League and English football.

"Luis is obviously still very young, but we have no doubt that he is ready to make an impact in the first team here. He is coming to a great environment, where he will be surrounded by other exciting young players and good people who will support him every step of the way.

"We will look after him, help him and his family to settle in and allow him time to adapt. But we are very excited about his immediate potential and are looking forward to seeing the progress he can make at West Ham United.

"This is a very important signing for us – we've worked hard across the club, working closely with the board, to secure Luis's signature. We know how the tough the Premier League is, and we want a squad that is competitive next season, but also to find the balance of ensuring that we plan for the longer-term future. Exciting young players like Luis Guilherme will help us to reach those goals."

Palmeiras' Luis Guilherme in action with San Lorenzo's Ivan Leguizamon on May 30, 2024© Reuters

Guilherme the latest Palmeiras product to move abroad

Born in the Brazilian state of Sergipe, Guilherme joined Palmeiras' academy at the age of 11 and worked his way through the club's youth ranks before making his senior debut in April 2023.

Guilherme only turned 18 in February, but he went on to make 45 first-team appearances for Palmeiras in all competitions, scoring his first goal for the club in a Copa Libertadores group-stage win in April.

The versatile attacker is regarded as one of the most exciting prospects in South American football and is the latest product of Palmeiras' academy to make a big-money move to Europe, following in the footsteps of Real Madrid's Endrick, Nottingham Forest's Danilo and Chelsea-linked Estevao Willian.

Guilherme will be looking forward to linking up with his new West Ham teammates ahead of their pre-season tour in Florida at the end of July.

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Wolverhampton Wanderers head coach Julen Lopetegui during draw with Fulham on February 24, 2023.
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