Now official – on a season loan – welcome Victor Obinna!!!
West Ham United are pleased to confirm the capture of Nigeria forward Victor Obinna on a season-long loan from UEFA Champions League holders Internazionale.
The highly-regarded Obinna, who turned 23 in March, has already been capped more than 30 times at senior level and appeared twice for his country at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. He visited Chadwell Heath and the Boleyn Ground this week for talks and has passed a medical.
An exciting forward blessed with blistering pace and a powerful shot, Obinna spent four years in Italy before joining Spanish La Liga side Malaga CF on loan for the 2009/10 campaign. Obinna returned to Inter earlier this summer, scoring twice in a 3-0 pre-season friendly victory over Manchester City in Baltimore last month.
The club’s sixth signing of the summer – after Thomas Hitzlsperger, Tal Ben Haim, Winston Reid, Pablo Barrera and Freddie Piquionne – began his career with Nigerian clubs Plateau United, Kwara United and Enyimba before moving to Italian side AC Chievo Verona on a five-year contract in July 2005.
The young African scored 19 goals in 82 league matches at Chievo, including helping them to the Serie B title in 2007/08.
Internazionale moved to secure Obinna’s services in summer 2008 and he went on to make nine Serie A appearances in his first season at San Siro, scoring in a 4-0 victory over AS Roma as the Nerazzurri won the title for a third consecutive season.
At international level, the speedy forward first caught the eye at the 2006 CAF Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt, scoring in the quarter-final victory over Tunisia.
Two years later, Obinna captained the Super Eagles to the final of the Olympic football tournament in Beijing, scoring three times as Nigeria defeated Japan, United States, Ivory Coast and Belgium on course to winning the Silver Medal.
After scoring four times in helping Nigeria to qualify for the 2010 World Cup, Obinna appeared at his third Africa Cup of Nations tournament in January, scoring the winner in his country’s 1-0 third-place play-off victory over Algeria.
This summer, the 23-year-old appeared twice at the World Cup, starting the 1-0 group-stage defeat by Argentina in Johannesburg. His loan to West Ham includes the option of a permanent transfer next summer.