Ajax confirm Hammers approach

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Ajax have confirmed they have received an approach from West Ham for midfielder Nigel de Jong.

A clutch of clubs are believed to be on the trail of the 21-year-old Dutch international.

De Jong has informed Ajax that he will not be extending his expiring contract and this scenario has prompted the Dutch titans to make him available for transfer in January.

The Dutch international is unsure about whether to leave in January or wait until the summer, but West Ham are clearly attempting to steal a march on their rivals.

"West Ham United are so far the only club who have contacted us about a possible transfer for Nigel," Ajax technical director Martin van Geel told AD Sportwereld.

De Jong has already rejected an approach from Celtic and said recently he would consider all offers closely before making a decision on his future.

Sevilla and Borussia Dortmund are both keen on the midfielder, while Juventus are rumoured to be waiting in the wings, and it remains to be seen if Hammers chief Alan Pardew has the pulling power to beat off competition from some of Europe's big hitters.

Nourdin Boukhari is another player seemingly on the move from Ajax, with the 25-year-old confirming he plans to exit the Amsterdam ArenA in the summer.

"After a couple of years you have to be a first team regular, but Nourdin cannot make the last step," said van Geel.

"He has already been loaned out once and relegated to the reserves. We had reached a point that something had to be broken."

Boukhari came in for criticism from the Ajax faithful during the weekend draw with NEC Nijmegen, but he says his departure has nothing to do with his treatment from the fans.

"My leave and the reaction of the crowd are two separate things," Boukhari told AD Sportwereld. "My future didn't depend on the reaction of the crowd on Sunday. It is to do with sporting aspects."