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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jan, 5, 2006

Ogasawara on trial at West Ham

CHADWELL HEATH, England, Jan 5 (Reuters) - West Ham United have taken Japan midfielder Mitsuo Ogasawara on a week's trial as manager Alan Pardew looks to strengthen his squad during the January transfer window.

The talented Ogasawara, who has 43 caps, plays for Kashima Antlers but is keen to join an English Premier League club.

Pardew has money to spend and has been impressed with Ogasawara during his stay at Upton Park.

The West Ham manager revealed that the Far East market is something he is actively looking into and he could yet bring more Asian players into the English game.

'We are honoured to have Mitsuo here because we know he is a big player in Japan,' Pardew told reporters at the club's training ground on Thursday.

'For us it is a culture change and a different environment and we just want him to settle down for a couple of days.

'We want him to get a feel for what we are about. We had a tough training session on Thursday morning and I felt he coped with that very well.

JAPANESE MARKET

'It surprised me how well he did because he has been on a long journey and he did better than I expected.

'The way I like to play, the Japanese market is attractive to me because the players show great energy and their attitude to the game is something that I like.

'Perhaps there could be something for West Ham in that market. Whether it is Mitsuo, I am not sure yet.'

West Ham also officially unveiled Israel striker Yaniv Katan on Thursday. He has signed a four-year contract from Maccabi Haifa and could make an immediate debut against Norwich City in the FA Cup third round on Saturday.

Katan said: 'I am very happy to be at West Ham. Yossi Benayoun told me great things about the club and he said this would be the best place for me to go.

'I played with Maccabi Haifa in the Champions League and scored two goals against Manchester United. I hope to be good for West Ham and will give everything for my new team.'

West Ham are a respectable 10th in the 20-team Premier League after seven wins and five draws in 21 matches on their return to the top flight this season.

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