Dortmund signs Ajax striker Haller to replace Haaland

FILE - Ajax's Sebastien Haller celebrates scoring his side's second goal during the Champions League group C soccer match between Besiktas and Ajax at the Vodafone Park Stadium in Istanbul, Turkey, Wednesday, Nov. 24, 2021. (AP Photo, File)

DORTMUND, Germany (AP) — Borussia Dortmund signed Ajax striker Sébastien Haller on a four-year contract Wednesday to try and fill the gap left by Erling Haaland.

Dortmund paid 31 million euros ($31.5 million), with another 3.5 million euros ($3.6 million) in potential further payments, for the 28-year-old Ivory Coast international, Ajax said.

Haller scored 34 goals for Ajax last year, including 11 in eight Champions League games, to reignite his career following an underwhelming two-year stay with West Ham in the English Premier League.

He will be tasked with taking over Haaland’s center-forward role after the Norwegian left Dortmund for Manchester City. Haller has taken the No. 9 shirt which Haaland wore at Dortmund for the last two seasons.

“The overall package is very promising. Sébastien possesses a strong physical presence and he is physically very resilient,” Dortmund’s new sporting director Sebastian Kehl said.

“With his experience, he can also offer support and stability to our young attacking players. During the talks with us, he made it clear that he has big ambitions with BVB.”

The transfer marks a return to Germany for Haller, who played with Eintracht Frankfurt in the Bundesliga from 2017 through 2019.