Ex West Ham United enigma Sead Haksabanovic was frozen out by Slaven Bilic but has just made a shock move to Celtic.

There was intrigue and excitement back in August 2017 when West Ham signed Montenegro international Haksabanovic on a five-year contract in a £2.7m transfer from Swedish club Halmstad.

The skilful young star was given big billing by West Ham when he joined.

“Blessed with searing pace, outstanding technical ability and vision and an eye for goal, Haksabanovic has already made 70 first-team appearances and made his senior international debut in May,” whufc.com stated at the time.

Preston North End v West Ham United - Pre-Season Friendly
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“Now, the Sweden-born player will bring his wide range of talents to the Hammers, London Stadium and the Premier League.”

Haksabanovic made his debut for West Ham around a month later playing 63 minutes in a 3-0 home win over Bolton Wanderers in the EFL Cup.

But he was barely seen again at West Ham.

Tottenham Hotspur v West Ham United - Premier League
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Ex West Ham enigma Haksabanovic was frozen out by Bilic but has just made a shock move to Celtic.

Celtic announced the signing on their official website on Thursday.

One might think Celtic have learned their lesson over signing young, over-hyped former West Ham players who failed to establish themselves in east London.

After all Celtic signed Albian Ajeti and that has hardly been a roaring success.

After being loaned to Malaga and then IFK Norrkoping before completing a permanent move to the latter, Haksabanovic went on to be sold to Russian side Rubin Kazan.

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There he donned the number 99 shirt and scored one goal in 23 appearances before taking advantage of a special FIFA window to join Djurgarden following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Celtic fans reaching for Google to learn more about their new arrival can take great heart from his West Ham background story, though.

Because it seems he was not frozen out by Bilic because he was no good or had a bad attitude.

But rather because Haksabanovic had been brought in by West Ham’s owners above Bilic’s head.

West Ham United Unveil New Manager Slaven Bilic
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A report from around that time lifts the lid on the story, with claims that Bilic had no idea who Haksabanovic was.

During his time at West Ham, Celtic’s new signing was taken under the wing of then Hammers star Marko Arnautovic, who rated him highly.

West Ham fans will no doubt be keeping one eye on how the ex Hammers enigma Haksabanovic gets on at Celtic under Ange Postecoglou.


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