Albian Ajeti: Celtic striker says he deserved to play more at West Ham

"To be fair I deserved to play more, I don't need to hide that. I deserved that... I just think I need to play and this is why I signed"

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New Celtic signing Albian Ajeti says he has joined the Scottish Premiership champions in the hope of more game time

Albian Ajeti claims he was not given enough chances at West Ham before signing a four-year deal with Celtic.

The 23-year-old Switzerland striker joined the Hoops for a fee of around £5m after making 12 appearances without scoring in a year with the Londoners.

Sky Sports News understands the striker is taking a significant pay cut from his £60,000-a-week wage at West Ham.

Celtic announce the signing of Swiss forward Albian Ajeti on a four-year-deal at Celtic Park
Image: Ajeti has taken a pay cut from his £60,000-a-week wage at West Ham

It is also understood a personal intervention by boss Neil Lennon convinced Ajeti to choose Celtic, after a host of Premier League and European clubs were also interested.

Ajeti, whose move to West Ham from Basel cost the Premier League club £8m, was speaking in an open-air media conference at Celtic Park when he suggested his opportunities in England were limited.

Celtic announce the signing of Swiss forward Albian Ajeti
Image: A personal intervention by boss Neil Lennon convinced Ajeti to choose Celtic

He said: "Yes, to be fair I deserved to play more, I don't need to hide that. I deserved that. But this is football, this is how it is. I am really happy now. What is gone is gone and I am looking forward now.

"I just think I need to play and this is why I signed for Celtic.

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"I had a good chat with the gaffer, Neil Lennon, and the sporting director (Nick Hammond), they really wanted me and this was the most important thing because the first season I had in West Ham was clear for me; I need to play and I am really looking forward to playing with Celtic."

Celtic manager Lennon told the club's official website: "We are delighted to bring Albian to Celtic.

West Ham striker Albian Ajeti (L) and West Bromwich Albion defender Semi Ajayi in action in their FA Cup tie at the London Stadium
Image: He had scored 37 goals for Basel but failed to register for the Hammers

"He is a tremendous player, an international with real quality and I know he is really determined to do all he can to bring more success to our supporters.

"I have admired him for a long time as he is a really intelligent footballer, well balanced and a really good finisher. We are so pleased to make him a Celtic player and we hope he has a long and prosperous career with us."

Ajeti insists the challenge at Celtic Park is no different to the one down south.

He said: "It is the same. It is football, here or the Premier League. Celtic, with the standards they have, it doesn't feel any change. I am really happy to be here."

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Highlights of the Scottish Premiership match between Kilmarnock and Celtic

One familiar face in the Celtic line-up is attacker Mohamed Elyounoussi, a former team-mate at Basel.

"He actually called me a couple of times and tried to convince me but it did not need a lot to convince me to sign for Celtic," Ajeti said.

"We had a chat, he asked me about my situation. I talked to him about the city and how the life is here.

"I remember the games we played together, we had many good moments, scored lots of goals at Basel so I am really looking forward to linking up with him again."

Ajeti also has a friend across the city at Old Firm rivals Rangers.

Striker Cedric Itten, who signed for the Ibrox club earlier in the month from St Gallen, came through the ranks at Basel with Ajeti and they are Switzerland team-mates.

The new Parkhead striker said: "I shared many years in the Basel academy. He had a different route to me.

"I am happy we can play in one of the biggest derbies in the world against a mate I know from Switzerland."

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