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Haller ends underwhelming spell at West Ham by joining Ajax

January 8, 2021 GMT
West Ham's Sebastien Haller, left, challenges for the ball with Everton's Mason Holgate during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and West Ham at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (Peter Byrne,Pool via AP)
West Ham's Sebastien Haller, left, challenges for the ball with Everton's Mason Holgate during the English Premier League soccer match between Everton and West Ham at Goodison Park in Liverpool, England, Friday, Jan. 1, 2021. (Peter Byrne,Pool via AP)

AMSTERDAM (AP) — Sébastien Haller ended his underwhelming 18-month spell at West Ham by signing for Ajax for 22.5 million euros ($27.5 million) on Friday in a move that bolsters the Dutch league leader’s injury-hit front line.

The Ivory Coast striker joined West Ham from Eintracht Frankfurt for a club-record fee of $55 million in July 2019, but only scored 14 goals and lost his place in the team midway through last season to Michail Antonio, a converted midfielder.

West Ham decided to sell Haller even though Antonio has been hit by injury problems in recent weeks, leaving manager David Moyes with few alternatives up front.

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Ajax made its move for Haller, who has a contract until June 2025, with David Neres, Lassina Traore, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar and Bryan Brobbey all sidelined with injuries.

“This is a club that you can perform, you can play Champions League, you can fight for the title every season,” Haller said in a video posted on Ajax’s website.

The transfer reunites Haller with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, his former coach at FC Utrecht, where he played for 2 1/2 years.

Haller said he had remained in contact with Ten Hag, a coach he said gave him confidence during his productive spell in Utrecht.

“This is something you can’t forget,” Haller said.

His arrival in Amsterdam comes just days before Ajax takes on second-place PSV Eindhoven on Sunday.

“I hope I will be there and ... I just hope to score and win the game,” Haller said. “That would be the dream and the perfect start for my new adventure in Ajax.”

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This story has been corrected to show that the Ajax coach’s name is spelled Erik, not Eric.

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