Belfast Telegraph

Lugano joins Baggies

West Brom on Friday night confirmed the signing of veteran defender Diego Lugano on a free transfer from Paris St Germain but head coach Steve Clarke warned the new man he would have to earn his place in the team.

The 32-year-old Lugano has signed a two-year deal and brings a wealth of experience to the Hawthorns, having played in the Champions League and captained Uruguay a record 77 times, but Clarke said that was not enough to guarantee him selection.

"I'm delighted to welcome Diego to the club," Clarke said. "He's an experienced centre-half who will increase competition in that area of the team.

"This is a tough league. You need as many good players in your squad as you can get - and Diego is undoubtedly one of those.

"Like some of the others we have here, Diego is another player who captains his country and is a leader.

"He has a real hunger and ambition to play and succeed in the Barclays Premier League and he will hopefully get a platform here to show everyone what he can do.

"However, Diego knows he's got a fight on his hands to get into the team.

"Over the past couple of seasons, Gareth McAuley and Jonas Olsson have been an established Premier League pairing with stiff competition from Gabriel Tamas and young Craig Dawson, who we believe will be a good centre-half for this club in years to come."

Lugano is accustomed to such battles, joining from PSG where his career never truly took off following his move from Fenerbahce in 2011.

His first campaign was interrupted by injuries, restricting him to 12 appearances, and the arrival of Thiago Silva last summer further limited his opportunities and led to him joining Malaga on loan in January, going on to reach the Champions League quarter-finals under new Manchester City manager Manuel Pellegrini.

PSG's signing of 19-year-old Brazilian Marquinhos for 32million euros (£27.8million) this summer signalled the end of Lugano's time in the French capital.

"I am very please to join West Bromwich Albion for the next two years," Lugano wrote on his Twitter account.

"I'm doing something that has been missing in my career, playing in the Premier League, without doubt the most beautiful and competitive league in the world.

"The challenge is to match what West Bromwich achieved last season and trying to go a step further to reach European competitions."


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