Neill finalises surprise move to West Ham

January 22, 2007

West Ham have confirmed the signing of full-back Lucas Neill from Blackburn for an undisclosed fee.

After agreeing terms and passing a medical at Upton Park the 28-year-old completed his move to east London this afternoon.

The Australian international chose the Hammers despite rumoured interest from Liverpool.

The Sydney-born defender first moved to England at the age of 17 to join Millwall.

Neill went on to make more than 150 appearances for the Lions before joining Blackburn in 2001 for £1million.

He became a regular under manager Graeme Souness but did not feature as Rovers won the Carling Cup in his first season at Ewood Park.

Neill played a key role last season as Blackburn once again secured a place in the UEFA Cup, this time via a sixth-placed finish in the Barclays Premiership.

His performances for the Socceroos at last summer's World Cup finals in Germany brought him wider recognition and rumours surfaced of interest from Champions League title-holders Barcelona.

No firm bid materialised from the Spanish giants but the player was frequently linked to Liverpool, whose offer he is reported to have snubbed in favour of West Ham.

Blackburn manager Mark Hughes appears to have sanctioned the deal after securing the services of Liverpool left-back Stephen Warnock today.

Hughes said: 'We thank Lucas for his efforts because he was fantastic for me in my time here, and prior to my tenure here he was a guy that came in and gave everything that he had.'