Premier League

Hammer’s Double Bubble

Avram Grant: Minus gnawing teeth

‘West Ham Double Swoop’ probably wasn’t the most expected headline going into the summer. Hammers fans had feared that the Sullivan/Gold regime would tighten purse strings while proudly boasting about sparse, negligible signings, making Avram Grant forcibly smile mirthlessly for photographs, hand-wagging said unimpressive signing while concurrently grating his incisors.

Whether West Ham’s relatively liberal use of the cheque-book so far will convince suspicious fans otherwise remains to be seen, but there does at least appear to be intent at the Boleyn Ground, to remove themselves from the mire.

Today, the club announced the dual signing of Mexican winger Pablo Barrera – who will join fellow countryman Franco at the club – and, one of Avram Grant’s former players, Frederic Piquionne.

Those two follow the purchase of Thomas Hitzlsperger from Stuttgart earlier this month, who debuted for the club in a friendly on Wednesday.

Pablo Barrera is one of a selection of young wide forwards that the Tricolor has boasted in recent years along with Giovanni Dos Santos and Carlos Vela.

Coming on for the injured Vela in South Africa against France, the 23-year-old put in some bright, industrious displays for his country until they were comfortably beaten by Argentina in the knockout stages.

Prior to his World Cup exploits, in 2009, he lifted both the Mexican Clausura and the Gold Cup for his side Universidad Nacional where he has played since the age of 11.

Barrera, who has already been granted a work-permit ahead of his £4million exchange, will join Piquionne, who will arrive at the club for around £1million from French club Lyon.

Piquionne, now 31, produced some committed and competent performances for relegation strugglers Portsmouth last season under Grant’s management, leading the Israeli to pursue the Frenchman’s signature at his new club. The forward scored 11 times in 10 months at the club, providing six assists.

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