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50-50: Liverpool vs. Real Madrid

Champions League 18 hours ago
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By ESPN Staff
Aug 6, 2008

West Ham Utd terminate Ljungberg's contract

West Ham United claim they have come to an agreement 'mutually acceptable to both parties' after reports Swedish midfielder Fredrik Ljungberg was allowed to exit Upton Park with a £6million pay-off.

The 31-year-old has left the Hammers - after joining them only 12 months ago from Arsenal - and has thrashed out 'undisclosed terms' over the termination of his contract, which had one year and an option for another to run.

Ljungberg made 25 starts for the Hammers after his £3million move across London last summer but failed to make much impact following a largely golden nine-year spell at Highbury, where he helped the Gunners win two Premier League titles and three FA Cups.

Injuries slowed down his career under Arsene Wenger and he was on the treatment table after his opening match for West Ham last August.

He finished the season with a cracked rib, threatening his participation in the Euro 2008 finals, but was eventually passed fit for Sweden's campaign.

West Ham have denied the decision to let him go has anything to do with his seemingly unreliable fitness, insisting in a club statement 'he proved himself fit at Euro 2008'.

To West Ham fans it will look like the first instalment in clearing the decks after the massive spending on new players under former chairman Eggert Magnusson last season.

Ljungberg, who has asked his agent to see what offers could now come his way in England, Italy and Spain, explained: 'I gave my all at West Ham and enjoyed my time there but the decision is the best for the both of us.

'Now I will take my time to consider my football future.'

Hammers chief executive Scott Duxbury said: 'We respect Freddie Ljungberg's position and are pleased we could reach agreement and wish him all the best in the future.

'This deal is mutually acceptable to both parties.'

Although West Ham have since disputed claims manager Alan Curbishley is under pressure to drastically cut the squad and the wage bill this season, their only significant buy this summer has been Switzerland's left back Valon Behrami for £5million from Lazio - following the sale of striker Bobby Zamora and defender John Pantsil to Fulham for a combined £6.3million.

The Hammers have now been linked with a bid for Manchester United's French forward Louis Saha and boss Curbishley could find himself short up front after more injury problems for Craig Bellamy and Kieron Dyer.

The pair cost £13.5million between them a year ago but missed most of the season after Bellamy needed groin surgery and Dyer suffered a double fracture of his right leg.

Comeback man Dyer has since been sidelined again for an estimated two more months after a stress fracture while Bellamy damaged a hamstring against Ipswich in a friendly on Monday night.

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