LONDON - Crystal Palace have signed midfielder Cheikhou Kouyate on a four-year contract from Premier League rivals West Ham United, the club said on Wednesday.
The Senegal international, who featured in all three of their matches at the World Cup, made 147 appearances for West Ham after joining them from Belgium's RSC Anderlecht in 2014. The transfer fee was not disclosed but local media said Palace paid an initial 9.5 million pounds ($12.46 million) for the 28-year-old.
"I'm so happy. It's been a long day but now everything is good and I'm very excited to start with my new teammates," Kouyate told the club's website. "This is the right time to move because I needed a new challenge. I have good memories of West Ham but I need to come here and give my best because I like the Crystal Palace project. I spoke to the manager and I know he'll be a good manager. I also spoke to Pape Souare yesterday and he told me I had to come and now I'm here and I'm very happy."
Meanwhile, Palace are set to soar into the realms of the Premier League’s biggest payers after agreeing a four-year deal for Max Meyer worth £35million. The package works out at nearly £170,000 a week for the Germany midfielder who is available after leaving Schalke at the end of his contract.
Palace would have to pay Schalke a small compensation fee of around £450,000 for the 22-year-old’s training and development. Meyer’s salary will dwarf the £120,000 a week which Palace pay striker Christian Benteke, their biggest earner, who arrived for £27m from Liverpool two years ago.
Palace fans’ favourite Wilfried Zaha, who is wanted by clubs including Borussia Dortmund, Chelsea and Tottenham, has recently rejected a contract offer which would have put him in a similar bracket to Benteke.
Meyer’s salary puts him among the top 20 best-paid players in the Premier League, and in the same tier as Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan of Arsenal. Alexis Sanchez is thought to be the top earner in English football on £390,000 a week at Manchester United, with Arsenal’s Mesut Ozil on £300,000 a week.
Palace, who play Toulouse in a friendly on Saturday, open their new Premier League campaign at Fulham on August 11.