Hammers partner up with Dutch

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West Ham have forged a partnership with VVV-Venlo which will see the Premier League club exchange players with their Dutch counterparts.

Hammers officials had journeyed to three countries on the European continent over the past year before settling on an agreement with the Limburg outfit.

Academy manager Terry Westley believes the east Londoners will benefit from the technical style adopted by their Netherlands partners.

Westley's son, Sam, linked up with Venlo on a season-long loan ahead of the new campaign and other players are expected to follow in his footsteps in the future.

Westley told the club's official website: "It's something we have looked at for 12 months. We have been to Slovakia, France and Holland.

"We have met with different clubs and we chose Venlo in the end after doing our homework and looking at the environment and what the staff are like.

"We managed to get the link after I went over to Holland and met the club's director to form a football partnership. We feel the high technical game which they play could suit our players.

"Our thought process was could we be futuristic? If you look at defenders, Reece Burke is a great example as going to Bradford is really helping him and being tough against a senior centre-forward.

"But if you are looking for a midfielder or an attacking player, you might be looking for a different type of game and Venlo ticks those boxes. Our staff can go and see the things they do and the same for them."