FLYNN DOWNES admits he is in dreamland after signing for boyhood club West Ham.
The 23-year-old joins the Hammers on a five-year contract – with the option of an extra year – in a deal worth up to £12million.
Crystal Palace were initially favourites to snap up Downes – bought by the Swans from the Ipswich last summer for around £1.5m.
But West Ham’s offer of £10m plus add-ons was enough to sway the Brentwood-born player to head to his beloved Claret and Blue.
Downes said: “It’s a surreal feeling to have joined my boyhood club. I feel like I’m dreaming.
“It’s been my dream since I was a little boy to join this Club – it’s an absolute privilege. This is my club, so I couldn’t be more delighted. I’m glad to be here. I can’t wait to get started.
“I want to be the best I can be and this feels like the perfect opportunity to test myself against the very best players in the Premier League.
“Players have come to West Ham from the Championship and progressed to international honours. That’s something you can’t ignore.
“The manager’s track record of bringing players through was a big motivation in me joining the club. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to be a West Ham player.”
With the departure of club skipper Mark Noble in the summer, Downes adds depth to a midfield where he will provide back-up to starters Declan Rice and Tomas Soucek.
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This is a transfer driven mainly by boss David Moyes, who added: “We are pleased to have signed Flynn and looking forward to bringing him into the group.
“We think he’s got good energy. We think he’s got a lot of things which we have about our team, which would want to keep and want to add to.
“We brought Jarrod Bowen from a similar situation at Hull, so we’re always trying to find boys from the Championship who we think are going to step up to become Premier League players.
“I’m hoping that Flynn does. I think there’s a good chance as he’s got an awful lot of good attributes.”
Downes came through at Ongar Town before joining the Ipswich academy at the age of seven and progressing into the first team, winning their 2018 Young Player of the Year.
A switch to Swansea last August saw him become a mainstay of Russell Martin’s side, making 32 appearances in the Championship last term.
Known for his impressive engine on and off the ball and his tenacity in midfield, he has also represented England at U19 and U20 level.