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By ESPN Staff
Dec 15, 2005

Hammers proposed Katan deal falls through

Yaniv Katan's proposed move to West Ham in January is off after the Israel international striker announced he will remain with Maccabi Haifa until the end of the season.

Maccabi Haifa had been desperate to sell Katan in the forthcoming transfer window after the 24-year-old rejected their offer of a new contract.

But Katan has dug his heels in and decided to hold out until the end of the season, when he can leave on a free transfer and command a better deal.

The player's lawyer, Ben Hay, said: 'He has decided to finish the season with Maccabi Haifa and from January he can start to negotiate for next season.

'Maccabi Haifa wanted to sell him now as this was their last chance because his contract finishes at the end of the season.

'But he wants to negotiate a transfer on his own because it is better for him, he can make more money. It is better to join a club at the start of the season than in the middle.'

The suggestions over the last few days that Katan was on the brink of a move to West Ham all emerged from Maccabi Haifa.

The club's owner Ya'akov Shahar wanted to strike a deal because Katan will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club from the start of next month.

Maccabi Haifa were chasing a nominal fee of around £300,000, though they could have been willing to let Katan move for nothing in return for a guaranteed share of any future sale.

But Katan was in no mood to do his employers any favours. It is understood he feels Maccabi Haifa have deliberately scuppered previous opportunities of a move abroad, including a possible transfer to Portsmouth.

Katan now has the opportunity to negotiate a deal without any fees or sell-on clauses and Spanish club Deportivo La Coruna are looking to start discussions about a summer transfer.

No English clubs have yet contacted Hay about discussing a pre-contract agreement.

West Ham's immediate concern is to bolster their attacking options during the January transfer window.

South African Benni McCarthy, who had agreed a move to West Ham in the summer only for Porto to pull the plug at the 11th hour, remains an option while boss Alan Pardew is thought to also be keeping tabs on Brondby striker Johan Elmander.

But Pardew has always stated he will not spend money for the sake of it and his current strike-force of Bobby Zamora, Marlon Harewood and Teddy Sheringham are making a solid case for saving the cash.