DIEGO Lugano jumped at the chance to join Albion – after receiving glowing references about the club from fellow countrymen Gus Poyet and Luis Suarez.
The Uruguay skipper fulfilled his lifelong dream of signing for a Barclays Premier League club when he arrived from Paris-Saint-Germain on a free transfer, penning a two-year deal last night.
Lugano saw his new team-mates in action for the first time in Thursday’s friendly against Genoa and the ambitious centre-half plans to help them at least match last season’s eighth-placed finish.
And the feedback he received about the Baggies from ex-Chelsea player Poyet and Liverpool striker Suarez left him in no doubt he was making the right move.
“I’m very glad to be here,” said Lugano, who will wear the No.14 shirt.
“In fact, I’m thrilled.
“Playing in the English Premier League has always been my dream as I think it’s the best league in the world.
“I chose Albion because it is a club that is developing a lot. They had a very good season last season and I hope to help the team repeat that or even improve on it.
“I have some very good friends working and playing in this country and I asked them about Albion.
“What did they say? Well, Suarez told me Liverpool got beaten twice by Albion last season, so that was a very good reference!
“Both he and Poyet said Albion play very good football and are a serious club which wants to accomplish something – and my first impression of the club is amazing.
“The references I got about Albion were just the best.
“Being in England and playing in the Premier League is just amazing for me. I’m very, very happy.”
Lugano is expected to train with his new team-mates for the first time tomorrow and he plans to make a positive impression – both on and off the pitch.
“I pride myself in being professional,” he added.
“I try to bring a good energy into the changing room – regardless of results.
“It’s important to stay positive, whether you’re winning or losing.
“On the pitch, I’m physically strong but I always try to be fair.
“I also try to help my team-mates as much as I can.”
Lugano’s English is patchy – but better than the modest defender claims!
He now aims to learn the language properly and is pleased to have a fellow South American in the dressing room.
“The fact Claudio Yacob is Argentinian is very good for me,” said the ex-Fenerbahce ace.
“Uruguayans and Argentinians are similar in many ways and I’m sure Claudio will help me settle in.”