In August 2010 West Ham United revealed that they had agreed a deal to bring Serbian international Miralem Sulejmani to the club. The stocky forward was in talks to tie himself down to a loan-deal with a view to a permanent move at the end of the season.
Ajax’s record signing at £13 million when he arrived from Heerenveen in 2008 the then 21-year-old was ready to arrive and help West Ham in their eventually unsuccessful fight with relegation under much-maligned Israeli Avram Grant.
The deal was done; rubber stamped and his Work Permit had been granted under a ‘special talent’ warrant from the Home Office.
Sulejmani was obviously keen on playing in the Premier League, a change from the Eredivisie where he had fallen foul of the hierarchy at the Dutch giants, but then, at the last minute the plug was pulled on a deal. Problems with the work permit and Ajax’s wrangling’s over a loan fee left the deal a no-go.
Any chance of West Ham renewing their interest the following summer went down the drain along with their Premier League status. Sulejmani was staying at Ajax.
In the two years since then the Ajax number seven has come on leaps and bounds under Frank de Boer. Last year saw him ranked among the best players in Europe by some, cementing his place not only in the Ajax side but also for national team Serbia.
His wand of a left-foot is a sight to behold and his adeptness as part of a front-three will appeal to Sam Allardyce who could pursue the striker this January.
This time however the situation is different. Sulejmani is a regular for his national side now so any problems with his visa should no longer be an issue. As for Ajax’s transfer wrangling’s they can do so all they want as the former Partizan Belgrade youth team prodigy is steadily approaching the final six months of his contract. Ajax are not blessed with great finances so losing him for free in June may not be a wise move with a potential loan deal to release his wages and recoup a small fee one possible option along with an out-right sale.
He is keen on the Premier League, stating in 2010 that the Premier League was the "strongest league in Europe" which may give The Iron an advantage over continental rivals such as Valencia, Genoa and Hannover.
However judging by these comments relating to the transfer in 2010 reconciliation with Jol seems unlikely:
"I really don't understand why Jol has vetoed the move, it looks like he's trying to ruin my career. I was looking forward to relaunching my career at West Ham. Their manager sees me as a big talent and I'm keen to make a fresh start elsewhere."
So, should West Ham reengage their interest in Ajax’s Miralem Sulejmani?
image: © Ben Sutherland