Soccer / Yossi Benayoun Finalizes Four-year Deal With Chelsea

30-year-old Israeli continues his surprising rise through the ranks of England.

Yossi Benayoun is expected in the coming days to travel to London to sign officially a four-year contract with Chelsea. Benayoun already agreed to terms with the English Premier League champions, and now is awaiting the green light from his current team, Liverpool, to seal the deal, according to associates of the midfielder.

Yossi Benayoun

The website of British newspaper The Guardian was a little more cautious yesterday, asserting the move is "far from completed" because Chelsea does not want to spend more than four million pounds, while Liverpool wants up to 10 million pounds.

The move to Chelsea would be a move up financially and professionally for the 30-year-old Israeli, who continues his surprising rise through the ranks of England. The deal came though after six weeks of negotiations, during which Liverpool rejected an offer of four million pounds for the midfielder.

According to sources familiar with the situation, Chelsea will pay six million pounds for Benayoun, who has another three years left on his current contract at Anfield worth three million pounds, not including bonuses. Benayoun will reportedly earn four million pounds a season, including bonuses, with Chelsea.

He recently received offers from Russia, Italy and elsewhere in England, but preferred to stay with Liverpool despite its current financial difficulties. Chelsea, which will play in the Champions League next season, won over Benayoun, who could have earned more at Manchester City, West Ham or Tottenham.

"During his entire career Yossi Benayoun has known how to make decisions with his head and not his gut," said a close associate of the midfielder. "Yossi has a special sense for knowing what's good for him and when. Like his move to Liverpool, this time as well Yossi's calculations are professional rather than financial. When Yossi signed with Liverpool, many raised their eyebrows and didn't believe he would make the team's roster."