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Hapoel Tel Aviv, Betar Jerusalem and Hapoel Petah Tikva looked like the chief contenders for the services of Avi Nimni last night.

Hapoel Petah Tikva owner Meir Shamir has already spoken with Nimnii about joining the club in the past, but the high cost of the star's salary could prove prohibitive.

Meir Levi, one of the owners of Betar Jerusalem has also promised to try and raise money to bring Nimni to the club, but the player's confidants' have said Betar's current roster won't suit Nimni.

Hapoel Tel Aviv meanwhile is expected to sit out on the sidelines and wait for developments in the financial negotiations between Nimni and Maccabi Tel Aviv before making any move for the player.

Nimni is also believed to have an offer from one of the less glamorous English Premier League sides, but reports say the financial terms of the deal did not tempt him.

Banin yesterday said he did not intend to retire and would look for a club with which he could end his career.

Meanwhile Maccabi Tel Aviv didn't hang around for long after Nir Klinger's dramatic news conference and last night the first of several candidates to strengthen the club was due to arrive in Israel.

This is Delibor Miterovitz, a 26-year-old striker from Rad Belgrade, who recently returned to the Serbian club after a four year spell in Belgium. Miterovitz was initially bought by Club Brugge before being loaned to Westerlo, for whom he scored 12 goals in the 2000-1 season, and then spent a year and a half with St. Truiden, for whom he scored five goals in 48 appearances, many of them as a substitute.

Miterovitz is marked as a replacement for Rodrigo Goldberg who also looks set to leave the club. Goldberg signed a new contract with Maccabi less than two weeks ago, but the club signed him on a clause allowing it to replace him within a month.

Jamaican international left back Robert Scarlet is due to arrive in Israel tomorrow. If signed, Scarlet will replace Czech defender Daniel Tehosh, who has failed to meet the expectations of Nir Klinger. The two are expected to play in the Toto Cup on Saturday against Betar Jerusalem.