News this morning that Tal Ben Haim is a renewed target of Chelsea. Chelsea of course tried to sign the Israeli player last January when a number of their defenders – including John Terry – were injured but Roman Abramovich would not come up with the money (â‚¤3M).
Now Ben Haim is a free agent and we had thought his move to Newcastle was about tied up – because Sam Allardyce – who brought him from Israel in 2004 – is now our manager.
Tal Ben Haim
The plot thickens however, as Ben Haim has apparently received strong encouragement in the last few days that a move to Chelsea is still possible. This is because his former Israeli coach Avram Grant, who is currently at Portsmouth, is to move to Stamford Bridge in a few weeks time to become the Director of Football there.
Official offers for Ben Haim have been made by Portsmouth and West Ham – but apparently no official bid has been made by Newcastle.
How many center-backs Portsmouth are after? – since they have Sol Campbell and are reportedly also going after Titus Bramble and Sylvain Distin – both free agents.
West Ham are hoping that the draw of fellow Israeli International Yossi Benayoun – already being at the club – will be enough to persuade Ben Haim to join him.
Grant, has apparently formed a good relationship with Roman Abramovich and watched Saturday’s FA Cup final from Abramovich’s private box.
Jose Mourinho’s first choice is not Ben Haim , but his preferred choice would be Jorge Andrade – the Portuguese defender who is available from Deportivo La CoruÃ±a.
Newcastle have been linked with Andrade in the past – but the fee of around Â£10m is more than Chelsea (and Newcastle) – would want to pay. Ben Haim’s price is much more attractive (â‚¤0M).
On a personal note – Ben Haim is due to get married next week – but that has hardly interrupted the negotiations – and we hope Big Sam is in there making the case for us.
We need some good signings quickly to ensure we are ready for the coming season – unlike what happened last year.
As usual – comments welcome.