Democratic of Republic of Congo international defender Herita Ilunga signed a permanent deal with English Premiership side West Ham on Wednesday just months after he described them as being a ‘second rate team’.
The 27-year-old had joined from French First Division side Toulouse on a season-long loan to replace left back George McCartney – who was sold to Sunderland – but has since played every Premier League game and scored his only goal in an FA Cup third round match with Barnsley.
Ilunga, who also played for Toulouse’s championship rivals St Etienne after arriving from Spanish outfit Espanyol B, made his remarks about the Hammers in December adding that he saw them as a stepping stone in his career.
However, the 18-times capped left back received the full support of manager Gianfranco Zola, who has made good on his promise of signing him permanently on a contract which runs till 2013.
“It is a great joy to have signed for a club that believed in me,” Ilunga told the West Ham website.
“My goal is to keep developing as a player here, working for the manager and his staff.
“I am very happy to be here and there is a great atmosphere with my team-mates.”
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