Ajax will try everything possible to have their record £20m signing Sébastien Haller available for the Europa League knockout rounds after failing to register the former West Ham striker, their coach, Erik ten Hag, said on Thursday.
But he conceded an administrative error would likely cost the club a vital player in their push to win the trophy, blaming a computer glitch for leaving the 26-year-old off the additions to the squad for the rest of the competition.
“It is of course incredibly annoying,” Ten Hag said. “Firstly for the player, but also for us. Of course we didn’t sign him for nothing. Haller was indeed on the list, but it is an administrative error. Something went wrong with the computers, just a check mark on and off.
“In the first instance [the technical director] Marc Overmars and I are responsible. Of course, people make mistakes, but this is a top sports organisation. This mistake should never have happened. Haller is of course also very disappointed. Although he also understands that this was not done on purpose.”
Ten Hag said there was little chance of leniency from Uefa. “But we will keep trying as long as there is hope.”
Ajax play Lille in the last 32, with the first leg in France on 18 February. Clubs were permitted to add three players to their roster by Tuesday’s deadline but Ajax included only Oussama Idrissi, who joined on loan from Sevilla.