ALBION have tonight boosted their midfield options by completing the signing of Argentina international Claudio Yacob.
The holding midfielder has penned a three-year contract, plus a year’s option in the club’s favour, after passing a Hawthorns medical. The deal remains subject to international clearance.
Yacob, who was a free agent after leaving Argentine Primera Division outfit Racing Club de Avellaneda at the end of last season, will wear his now customary No.5 shirt with the Baggies.
He celebrated his 25th birthday only six days ago and has become Albion’s third summer recruit, following England international Ben Foster and season-long loan signing Yassine El Ghanassy into the club.
Yacob joined the team in Malmo on Sunday for a training spell with a view to a permanent deal and head coach Steve Clarke is delighted a player of such pedigree is now a fully-fledged member of his squad.
“I’m delighted to welcome Claudio to the club,” said Clarke, who expects to grant the new signing his debut in Saturday week’s friendly at Sheffield Wednesday.
“He is an Argentina international with a real desire to prove himself in the Premier League and it’s great to have him on board.
“Claudio’s got different qualities to the other midfielders we’ve got at the club and he should complement the squad very well.
“It will take him a little bit of time to adjust to the demands of the English game and he’s also got to learn our language, but we hope to have him up and running for the start of the season.”
Yacob started his career at Racing, where he has spent the last six years, becoming an influential figure and captaining them since 2008.
The 5ft11in ace is renowned for his tenacious performances and passing ability and has two senior caps to his name, having scored on his last appearance – a 2-2 friendly draw with Ecuador in April 2011.
Yacob was also part of his country’s Under-20s team that won the 2007 FIFA World Youth Championships in Canada, making 20 appearances at that level in total.
Sporting & technical director Dan Ashworth said: “I’m really pleased we’ve been able to recruit a player of Claudio’s calibre.
“He’s been a one-club man in Argentina up to now, having broken into Racing’s first team at 17 and being appointed as their captain while still in his teens.
“To achieve that at Argentina’s third or fourth biggest club, and then break into the national team with the wealth of talent his country have to choose from, is no mean feat.
“Claudio joins us with a great CV and is a terrific passer of the ball.
“He’s a holding central midfielder who sits in front of the back four and controls the play.
“Claudio’s also good at breaking things up.
“I believe he will be a great asset for us.”