Manchester Ciy boss Mark Hughes has confirmed that he has made a move to bring Chelsea’s Israeli centre-back to Eastlands for a reported £5 million.
Tal Ben Haim, who arrived at Stamford Bridge from Bolton in 2007, is keen to cement a more regular starting berth. Hughes has confirmed that he is interested in the player to compete with Micah Richards and Richard Dunne for the two centre-back places, while hoping to use Ben Haim’s European experience to help his team through their forthcoming UEFA Cup campaign:
We have made a bid. Discussions are taking place.
Ben Haim endured a frustrating season under Chelsea bosses Jose Mourinho and Avram Grant, as he clashed with Grant and failed to break through the central choices of John Terry, Alex and Ricardo Carvalho, making only 13 appearances for the Blues. He is thought to welcome any move from Manchester City, as he looks to move to a team in European this coming season.
The move would be one that would benefit Chelsea as well. They paid nothing for Ben Haim and would stand to gain £5 million, as well as get rid of a £40,000-a-week reserve defender. Scolari is most probably going to continue with the pairing of Terry and Carvalho in the centre, with Alex as backup. Ben Haim would continue to sit on the bench. The deal looks to benefit all three parties.
While on the subject of transfers, Hughes also stated that, as well as Ben Haim, he was looking at a number of other targets to strengthen his squad:
Hopefully that will be among a number of deals that we conclude before the transfer deadline.
Among those deals looks to be a move for a goalkeeper. With Joe Hart having such an excellent season, bar the 8-1 Middlesbrough debacle, Andreas Isaksson decided to leave the club for PSV Eindhoven, leaving only Kasper Schmeichel as competition:
We have two outstanding young keepers, but I think it’s important that we try to bring an experienced one in beside them as well.
We’ll continue to try to pursue that, but I don’t think there is much that is likely to happen in the next few days.
Stories of Hughes reuniting with ex-Blackburn keeper Brad Friedel were shattered by the American’s move to Aston Villa, whereas rumours about a move for Fulham’s Antti Niemi are begining to surface.