West Ham sign Brazilian striker Wellington
LONDON, Jan 11, 2013 (AFP) - West Ham on Friday signed Brazilian forward Wellington Paulista on loan from Cruzeiro until the end of the season.
Wellington had been a long-term target for Hammers manager Sam Allardyce and the Premier League club have an option to sign him on a three-year contract if his loan spell proves successful.
The 28-year-old, who has yet to make his Brazil debut, finished last season as Cruzeiro's top scorer with 27 goals and has also played for the likes of Santos, Botafogo and Palmeiras during a much-travelled career.
Wellington is Allardyce's fourth January signing following deals for Joe Cole, Sean Maguire and Marouane Chamakh.
The Sao Paulo-born forward will compete with Chamakh, Andy Carroll and Carlton Cole for a berth in West Ham's attack and insists he is not worried by the pressure of playing in the Premier League.
"I think I can do my best here and I am coming to England to prove to everyone that I am one of the best strikers in Brazil and to get better and better," he told West Ham TV.
"I am strong, I am a fighter and I can score with both feet. I run a lot on the pitch and I can play as either a first or second striker.
"The pressure will not be a problem for me because I am used to it from my time in Brazil, where the fans were really addicted to the club. The manager also put pressure on the players too, so it will be the same playing here."
West Ham co-chairman David Sullivan admits the signing is something of a gamble, but he believes Wellington could have a similar impact to Chelsea's Senegal striker Demba Ba, who made his name with a brief spell at Upton Park.
"He is another exciting player to add to our squad and although he may not be that well known on these shores, he comes with an excellent track record in Brazil," Sullivan said.
"His arrival is similar to some of the other 'wildcard' players we have signed before like Demba Ba."