Tal Ben Haim is closer to becoming the second Israeli on Chelsea, and could suit up for the team in its match against Liverpool Saturday, according to sources close to the negotiations between the Blues and Bolton Wanderers.
The sources said that the defender has agreed to financial terms with Chelsea, and "only an unexpected obstacle" will prevent him from signing with the club in the next two days.
The English press called the impending acquisition "a present of owner Roman Abramovich to manager Jose Mourinho."
The Sun said the defending Premier League champions will pay the Wanderers 2 million pounds for Ben Haim as part of a peace gesture by Abramovich. The owner and Mourinho engaged in a recent confrontation that started due to the owner's initial refusal to acquire a new player.
Sources said Chelsea CEO Peter Kenyon offered the peace gesture, and Mourinho said he would accept it if the team were to sign Ben Haim and Blackburn striker Benny McCarthy.
According to other reports, Portsmouth's Technical Director and former Israeli national coach Avraham Grant could join Chelsea at the end of the season.
Portsmouth manager Harry Redknapp said yesterday that "if Chelsea wants Grant, he won't stop him." Grant is close to both Abramovich and agent Pini Zahavi.
In an article titled "The mysterious man who could start a new era in Chelsea," The Times wrote that Abramovich wants Grant.
The article said that Chelsea's new management team would include former English national coach Sven Goran Ericsson, who would become manager, and Grant, who would serve as trainer.
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