Wednesday, January 04, 2006


100K joins Hammers

Israeli striker Yaniv Katan has joined West Ham for the princely sum of £100,000 from Maccabi Haifa. Does this mean he is 10 times better than Shaun Newton? If so, we've a winner on our hands.

"All my life I have dreamed of playing in England," said the 24-year-old. "This is a very happy day for me. I hope to be very successful with West Ham United and I am looking forward to meeting my new team-mates. I only arrived in England yesterday. I wanted to come here to watch the match against Chelsea but my plane didn’t land in time! I didn’t manage to watch it on TV either, but I saw Yossi Benayoun in the evening and he told me all about it.

"It is fantastic for me that Yossi is here. 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 United, 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."

Although he is nominally a striker, Katan suggests that a wide role suits him better. "I like to play as a wide attacking player, but the main thing I can tell the fans here is that I play for the good of the team and always give everything I have. I am so excited about the opportunity I have been given and I really can’t wait to play for West Ham United.

But he is realistic about his first team chances. "Every player wants to be successful but first of all I want to get to know my team-mates and get used to life here. Everything takes time and I don’t know when I will play. I need to make the first practice and we will see what happens after that."

Position: Striker
Squad No: 18
Born: Kiryat Ata, Israel
Date of Birth: January 27, 1981
Height: 6ft 2ins
Weight: 13st
Contract Expires: June 2009
Previous clubs: Maccabi Haifa (1990-2005)
Israeli League Championship 2001-02, 2003-04, 2004-05
Israeli Cup Runner-up: 2001-02
13 full caps for Israel

Season Club Apps Goals
2004-05 Maccabi Haifa 32 8
2003-04 Maccabi Haifa 28 7
2002-03 Maccabi Haifa 32 6
2001-02 Maccabi Haifa 27 8
2000-01 Maccabi Haifa 44 7
1999-00 Maccabi Haifa 39 3
1998-99 Maccabi Haifa 32 1

Total: 234 appearances, 40 goals (5.85 games per goal).

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