Hapoel Tel Aviv's new owner Lev Leviev wants a foreign manager for the club, sources close to the deal said yesterday. Leviev announced Monday that he was taking a controlling 75 percent share in the club for NIS 20 million.
"The thinking is that a foreign manager with a big name in European soccer will be able to attract senior players to Israel," sources said. "At the moment there is a problem in persuading top-tier players to leave senior leagues in Europe to come to Israel."
The sources added that no talks had been held with outgoing Israel coach Avraham Grant, whose name has been linked with the club since speculation began that Leviev would take over Hapoel Tel Aviv. Hapoel's present coach Dror Kashtan will take over from Grant as Israel coach and will leave the club at the end of the season.
Sources close to Leviev said yesterday that during the takeover negotiations, the issue of leaving Moshe Teumim and Moti Orenstein at the club as shareholders was discussed. However, the billionaire preferred to leave Keter Plastics owner Sami Segol with a 25-percent share with the remaining 75 percent in his hands.
The sources said that Leviev was opposed to having too many people involved in the club and added that Segol's business mentality suited Leviev.
Orenstein, who is employed by Leviev, has been offered a position running the club's educational project, which he initiated several years ago. Teumim will have no place under the new administration.
Yesterday it was revealed that Leviev's negotiating team conditioned the deal on Rafi Agiv, another member of the previous ownership group, giving up his stake in the club and penning his agreement to the deal signed with Hapoel's representatives to the negotiations.
Hapoel's current board of directors will meet with Leviev's representatives on Sunday, and Agiv is not expected to put up any opposition to the deal. Agiv refused to comment yesterday, saying he had not been briefed on the details of the buyout.
Leviev's takeover of Hapoel was the talk of the day in training yesterday with players and fans expressing a desire that it would hail a new era for the club.