Ajax Amsterdam sign striker Haller from West Ham

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Premier League - West Ham United v Manchester United

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Ajax Amsterdam have paid a club record 22.5 million euros to sign striker Sebastien Haller from West Ham United on a four-and-a-half-year contract, the Dutch league leaders announced on Friday.

The 26-year-old returns to the Dutch league, where he scored 51 goals for Utrecht between 2014 and 2017, and revives his relationship with Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, in charge of Utrecht when the French-born striker played there.

Haller, who scored on his full international debut for the Ivory Coast in November, joined West Ham from Eintracht Frankfurt in 2019. He scored 13 goals in 41 appearances for the London outfit, three of them this season.

The conclusion of two days of negotiations on Friday means Haller will be available to debut for Ajax when they host PSV Eindhoven in a top of the table clash on Sunday.

"My dream is to play and score on Sunday," he told Ajax TV. "This is a club where I can compete in the Champions League and chase titles every season and it's that winning mentality that suits me."

Ajax are better known as a prodigious seller of their top talent but have attempted in recent seasons to strengthen their squad, notably for European club competition, by also buying in experience, like their purchase of Dusan Tadic from Southampton in 2018.

(Writing by Mark Gleeson in Cape Town; Editing by Robert Birsel)