El Hamdaoui steps up for Ajax

AFC Ajax have landed forward Mounir El Hamdaoui from AZ Alkmaar for an undisclosed fee, with coach Martin Jol insisting the 26-year-old is the ideal replacement for Marko Pantelić.

Mounir El Hamdaoui has joined Ajax from AZ
Mounir El Hamdaoui has joined Ajax from AZ ©Getty Images

AFC Ajax have signed striker Mounir El Hamdaoui from AZ Alkmaar, with coach Martin Jol saying "he can make Ajax better".

The 26-year-old joins last season's Dutch Eredivisie runners-up for a fee reportedly in the region of €6m after another impressive campaign for AZ. El Hamdaoui, who has agreed a four-year contract with Ajax, scored 18 times in 27 top-flight matches last term, and 48 goals in 81 league games overall since arriving in Alkmaar from Willem II during the 2007/08 season.

"Mounir is what we needed," Jol said. "I worked with him at Tottenham Hotspur. He can make Ajax better. Following the departure of Marko Pantelić, we now have someone alongside Luis Suárez who can score goals."

The Rotterdam-born Moroccan international began his professional career at local side SBV Excelsior before moving to Tottenham in January 2005. He failed to make a Premier League appearance during his spell in England and spent the following term on loan at second-tier Derby County FC.

The 2008/09 campaign was his most successful to date. He led the Eredivisie with 23 goals, won the title with AZ and was named player of the year in the Netherlands. Ajax drew 1-1 at home to PAOK FC in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League third qualifying round tie, which concludes in Greece on Wednesday.