Two of Israel's representatives in the English Premier League could be on the move in the January transfer window, according to British media reports. Chelsea is said to have made an offer for Bolton Wanderers' defender Tal Ben Haim, while West Ham's new manager Alan Curbishley is reportedly looking to offload midfielder Yossi Benayoun.
Tal Ben Haim's form at Bolton has attracted the attention of Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho and the English Champion has reportedly made a 1.8 million pound offer to sign the player as a replacement for injured captain John Terry. Bolton manager Sam Allardyce has said, however, that he will not part with Ben Haim for less than 3 million pounds - if at all.
Ben Haim becomes a free agent in January and has already turned down an improved 12,000 pound a week offer from Bolton, as well as offers from Avraham Grant's Portsmouth, Tottenham and Chelsea itself.
Allardyce understands that there is little he can do to stop Ben Haim moving on to a bigger club and said of the chances of him staying after the January transfer window opens: "It doesn't look promising ... It might cause a frenzied bidding war, because he is a top talent that we have on our hands. Ultimately, that might tempt us into letting him go."
Allardyce said, however, that with a place in European competition at stake for next season, he might hold on to the player and let him go on a free transfer at the end of the season, if the price offered by other teams isn't right.
"You have to consider what we could lose through qualification for Europe by letting him go," Allardyce said. "This lad has been one of the best players this club has had for many, many years, even if, in the end, he leaves on a free transfer.
"There's no point releasing anybody unless they hit our valuation of the player, because ultimately we could lose far more money by selling him." Meanwhile, Yossi Benayoun could be on the way out at West Ham. The Israeli captain has seen his standing decline since Alan Curbishley took over at the struggling club earlier this month, and yesterday the Daily Mirror reported that Curbishley wanted to sell him for 6 million pounds to raise funds to land Chelsea's Shaun Wright-Phillips as a replacement for injured striker Dean Ashton.
Benayoun's agent, Ronen Katzav, told Haaretz yesterday that he had received no official word from West Ham. "Benayoun has a long time to go on his contract with West Ham," Katzav said.
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