Katan completes Hammers switch

January 3, 2006

West Ham have completed the £100,000 signing of striker Yaniv Katan from Maccabi Haifa.

Empics / MatthewAshtonYaniv Katan: Hammers striker.

The 24-year-old is an Israel team-mate of Hammers midfielder Yossi Benayoun and has signed a four-year contract at Upton Park.

Katan will be available for the FA Cup third-round tie at Norwich on Saturday and is relieved to have completed his transfer, which was agreed in principle last month.

'All my life I have dreamed of playing in England and this is a very happy day for me,' he said.

'I hope to be very successful with West Ham United and I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates.'

Katan came through from the youth teams at Maccabi Haifa, having joined the club as a nine-year-old, and won three Israeli league championships, in 2002, 2004 and 2005, as well as 13 caps for Israel.

With Benayoun proving such a hit since his £2.5million summer move from Racing Santander, Katan is now eager to make a similar impact. However he faces competition from places from the likes of Marlon Harewood, Teddy Sheringham and Bobby Zamora.

The cut-price fee was agreed as Katan's contract had only six months left to run.

'It is fantastic for me that Yossi is here,' Katan said.

'We played together at Maccabi Haifa and for the national team. In fact, we roomed together on away trips with the national team, so we are very good friends and I have kept in touch with him since he moved to England.

'Yossi has told me a lot about West Ham, he said that everyone at the club is very nice, the players are all good friends and that the supporters are fantastic.

'Of course, Yossi is one of the big reasons I came to West Ham United, and now I am just looking forward to being able to train with him and the rest of my team-mates.'

West Ham currently lie 10th in the Premiership, following their promotion last summer, and were eager to strength their options in attack for the second half of the season.

By agreeing terms with Katan in mid-December, they stole ahead of a number of clubs also keen to recruit him.

The frontman is unlikely to be their last signing of the month either.

'We are delighted that Yaniv has completed his transfer,' said Hammers legal director Scott Duxbury.

'There were a number of other European clubs looking at him and, with the transfer fee set at only £100,000, we had to move quickly to make the signing.

'We felt that, given the size of the fee, it was an opportunity we couldn't miss. Yaniv will hopefully prove an excellent addition, and we are now working hard to strengthen the squad further during the transfer window.'