West Ham bolt out of the blocks to snap up ex-Gunner for free

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West Ham acted quickly after the end of their Premier League campaign to bolster their squad for next term, by announcing the signing of Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Havard Nordtveit.

The Hammers have snapped up the Norwegian on a free transfer, with his contract at the Bundesliga club expiring this summer, and have pegged him to a five-year deal in east London.

Able to play in the heart of defence or at right-back too, the 25-year-old provides Slaven Bilic with a great deal of versatility for next season.

The majority of his appearances for the Foals this term came at centre-half, but he is more known as a defensive midfielder despite only making 15 appearances for Gladbach in that position.

Unsurprisingly, given that he was an Arsenal player in his younger days, Nordtveit is a solid passer of the ball. He averaged 55.7 passes per game in the Bundesliga during 2015/16 and completed 82.4 percent of them.

It is the former Gunner’s comfort with the ball at his feet that will be the biggest improvement to Bilic’s squad, with Nordtveit’s average passes per game tally bettering every member of the current Hammers outfit.

Only Mark Noble averaged over 50 passes per game across the 38-game league season for West Ham, so the Norwegian’s arrival will provide the team with another important tempo-setter.

It’s conceivable that the new man will operate either alongside, or as understudy to, the club captain, especially as on-loan Alex Song’s permanent move to the Irons looks unlikely having started just eight games this term.

A raft of new arrivals are expected at the club this off-season, as West Ham bid to build a squad capable of bringing regular European football to the new Olympic Stadium.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.