In a surprise move Hannover 96 have re-signed Ivorian striker Didier Ya Konan. The 30-year-old attacker, who had left the Bundesliga side for Saudi Arabian club Al Ittihad last summer, has signed a contract till the summer with an option to add another year.
“This is a great feeling. I’m coming home. God knows my path and I trust him. I’m proud to be wearing a Hannover shirt again and playing for the fans. I will now work hard to return to my old strength,” said Ya Konan during the press conference on Tuesday.
Coach Tayfun Korkut admitted that the striker, who played for the club between 2009 and 2014, would need time to get the necessary match fitness, presumably till the end of February or the beginning of March: “We will put him on an intensive training schedule to bring his fitness levels up to Bundesliga standards.”
Hannover expects to boost their attacking options with the signing and saw the possibility when “Didi” cancelled his contract in Saudi Arabia after only six months. His family had stayed in Hannover the whole time and he never felt comfortable in the new surroundings. The Hannover squad was just as surprised to see Ya Konan enter the dressing room and was greeted with loud cheers. “It was like Christmas”, keeper Markus Miller told Bild.
Ya Konan won’t be able to reclaim his old jersey number 11 which is now firmly in the hands of target man Joselu. Instead, he gets the number 30. The 5’8″ striker began his professional career in 2003 in his native country before signing with Norwegian club Rosenborg BK in 2006. Ya Konan joined Hannover in 2009, and featured in over 130 matches for the 96ers, scoring 37 times, including five goals in European competition. The Ivorian has also earned 26 caps for his country since 2008 while scoring eight international goals. Hopes are that Ya Konan can boost Hannover’s attack, which has been mediocre at best during the Hinrunde, scoring only 21 times in 17 league matches. The eight-place club opens the second half of the season Saturday away to Schalke.
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