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Dror Kashtan yesterday signed a two-year deal with Hapoel Tel Aviv, the club he left only a year ago. Kashtan will earn $120,000 a season, and with bonuses the sum could rise to $150,000.

Outgoing coach Shiye Faigenabum, who had been convinced he would stay at the club after coming in mid-season and saving it from relegation, refused to comment on Kashtan's appointment.

The club's new owners have told Kashtan that they expect the team to gain a European competition spot next season. Kashtan is expected to make a number of new signings. The club is continuing efforts to sign Hapoel Haifa midfielder Gil Vermout; Maccabi Haifa midfielder Walid Badir is also being targeted.

Kashtan has served two previous spells at Hapoel Tel Aviv. In the 1996/7 season, he was appointed manager midway through the year and saved the club from relegation, only to make way for Eli Cohen.

In 2002, he took Hapoel to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Cup with a series of giant-killing performances against Chelsea, Lokomotiv Moscow and Parma.