HAMMERS CLOSE TO NAILING TIHINEN

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WEST HAM UNITED are looking to push through a deal for loan star Hannu Tihinen, to make his move to Upton Park permanent.

The 24-year-old Viking Stavanger ace joined The Hammers on a three-month loan in December, after impressing on trial at the club, and they have a clause in his contract which allows them to buy him when his spell expires.

West Ham were keen to have a lengthy look at the player to see if he could adapt to The Premiership before deciding to make a permanent move for the defender.

The Finnish international stopper has played in four games for the East London side and it seems he has done enough to convince The Hammers` management to make his move permanent.

Viking director Bjarne Berntsen has flown to London to watch West Ham's game against Charlton on Monday night to hold talks with boss Harry Redknapp and a £2 million deal is expected to be finalised in the next few days.

Berntsen admitted that he would not be coming to London if he did not expect a deal to be completed.

"I wouldn't have gone to London if something wasn't happening," said Berntsen.

Redknapp is keen to bolster his defence having sold star defender Rio Ferdinand to Leeds in November and despite having brought in Rigobert Song, Christian Dailly and Ragnvald Soma to the club he is keen to add to his options and cover to his rearguard.