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Transfer news: West Ham dealt a blow as Johnny Heitinga 'cancels' move and seeks different option

The Everton defender had been expected to join the Hammers' battle against relegation

Johnny Heitinga has rejected the chance to move to West Ham.

The Everton defender had been expected to move to Upton Park this month but has decided that joining the relegation threatened side is not the "right step" for his career.

Missing out on the Dutch centre-back will be a blow for West Ham who are eager to reinforce a side that has slipped to 19th in the league following their 2-1 defeat to Fulham on New Year's Day.

Explaining his decision in a statement released by his agents Sport Promotion, Heitinga made clear he is still looking to move away from Goodison Park where his contract will expire at the end of the season.

"At my age it is important to make the right choices," said the 30-year-old Netherlands international.

"Then it is not just about money, because that was not a problem at West Ham United.

"You must be convinced that you are making a right step and that (thought) was with me, so I cancelled (the move to) West Ham and we now await the interest of other clubs.

"There is some, so I'm confident that I can find another club before January 31."

The statement by Sport Promotion made reference to the fact that West Ham are currently 19th in the Premier League table.

It also said of Heitinga: "His future may lie in England, but he is also open to a departure to another top league in Europe."

And the player spoke about his desire to play for his country at this summer's World Cup.

"I want to play in every game again, because I still have a huge appetite for the ball," Heitinga said.

"I am fit and, as a footballer, in the prime of my life.

"Moreover, I would like later to go to the World Cup in Brazil.

"I know that coach Louis van Gaal more or less has the condition that the players he selects are playing every week.

"This is not happening at Everton, so I'm looking at other options for a successful continuation of my career."

Heitinga, capped 87 times by Holland, joined Everton in 2009 from Atletico Madrid and had previously played for Ajax.

He made 30 appearances for the Toffees last season, when they were still managed by David Moyes, who was succeeded by Roberto Martinez over the summer.

This term he has made just two appearances, both in the Capital One Cup.