Crystal Palace have confirmed the signing of midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate from Premier League rivals West Ham United.
The Senegal international becomes the Eagles’ second signing of the summer, following the South Londoners’ capture of Spanish goalkeeper Vicente Guaita who had signed a pre-contract deal in January.
Palace are believed to have shelled out £9.5million on the 28-year-old.
Palace kick-start their summer transfer window
Kouyate arrives at Selhurst Park to add much needed depth to the Eagles’ midfield. Manager Roy Hodgson has lost Yohan Cabaye and last season’s loanee Ruben Loftus-Cheek this summer and required a new central midfielder to partner Serbia international Luka Milivojevic, who played his first 45 minutes of pre-season in Saturday’s 4-0 win at Reading having only recently returned from the World Cup.
The Eagles are also expected to announce the signing of former Schalke midfielder Max Meyer tomorrow. The German ran down his contract at the Gelsenkirchen club last season and, despite being linked with the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur, has agreed a move to South London.
Hodgson is also hoping to boost his forward options. It is expected that the 71-year-old will persevere with Christian Benteke who misfired last season, scoring just three times. Swansea City forward Jordan Ayew has been a target of the Eagles and is believed to be close to a move, although it seems the deal is being held up by Dutch youngster Jairo Riedewald who Palace are trying to use as makeweight.
Kouyate ‘happy’ to join London rivals
Kouyate, who made 129 Premier League appearances for the Hammers, told Palace TV: "I'm so happy. It's been a long day but now everything is good and I'm very excited to start with my new teammates.
"This is the right time to move because I needed a new challenge," he continued. "I have good memories of West Ham but I need to come here and give my best because I like the Crystal Palace project.
"I spoke to the manager and I know he'll be a good manager. I also spoke to [Senegal teammate and Palace left-back] Pape Souare yesterday and he told me I had to come and now I'm here and I'm very happy."