Ajax near Harry deal

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Ajax are closing in on an agreement with Werder Bremen for Greek striker Angelos Charisteas.

The Euro 2004 hero is Ajax coach Ronald Koeman's top transfer target for when the window reopens next month.

Koeman has already spoken with Charisteas regarding a move and is optimistic of clinching the forward's signature.

German champions Werder had previously been reluctant to sell Charisteas but their stance has softened in recent days with talks progressing satisfactorily.

"It's hard to say how long the completion of the details will take," Ajax general director Arie van Eijden told AD Sportwereld.

"But in each case we are close to each other."

Charisteas is being lined up as a replacement for Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the Amsterdam ArenA, with Werder now acknowledging a deal is in the pipeline.

Werder sporting director Klaus Allofs said: "We are fully in talks with Ajax."

Meanwhile, Ajax have confirmed that young winger Daniel De Ridder will not be leaving the club during January's transfer window.

De Ridder has previously suggested he wants to secure a move in the New Year so he can savour more regular first team football.

But Ajax assistant manager Ruud Krol feels De Ridder has a vital role to play at the club, although Tom Soetaers and Wesley Sonck could be heading for the exit.

Krol said: "De Ridder always plays well when he makes a substitute appearance."