By George Overhill

27th Jun, 2022 | 5:47pm

West Ham United complete permanent signing of Alphonse Areola - Fabrizio Romano

West Ham have finally completed the signing of goalkeeper Alphonse Areola on a permanent deal, Fabrizio Romano has confirmed.

The Frenchman spent the 2021/22 season on loan at the London Stadium and impressed as the primary stopper in cup competitions, including for the historic run to the semi-finals of the Europa League.

A permanent return has been in the offing for much of the summer while negotiations dragged on for the Paris Saint-Germain player, but he has now signed on for five years.

It is finally now official, as transfer guru Romano, who also writes for The Guardian took to Twitter Monday evening (27 June) to say: “Official, confirmed. Alphonse Areola joins West Ham on a permanent deal from Paris Saint-Germain, five year contract and medical completed.

“WHUFC Deal was agreed last week and then completed also on player side today. Second signing after Nayef Aguerd deal.”

At last

As with the Aguerd deal the summer business has been a bit like pulling teeth so far for the Hammers, but the important thing with both is that the club have got them over the line.

Fulham had been the main threat for the 29-year-old, with him also spending time on loan at Craven Cottage previously.

He will now be an Iron for the long-term though with a five-year deal locked up, and could expand on his previous role.

He is surely now in line to become the full-time starter sooner rather than later, with incumbent Lukasz Fabianski now 37.

That could conceivably come as soon as this pre-season, which is just starting up now, as Areola’s game time is likely to have been a central part of the discussions that went on longer than expected.

Slowly but surely the Hammers are getting the important business done this summer, and while it hasn’t been as smooth sailing as many would like, if they end up with the right result it has to be a positive.

They can now turn their attention fully to strengthening the attacking areas, with Jesse Lingard potentially returning, and a long-awaited striker top of the list.