Rafa Benitez targets 117-goal superstar in bid for Premier League return

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After proving incapable of saving Newcastle United from the dreaded drop this past season, Rafa Benitez is scouring the globe for players who will help ensure that his time in the Championship division is short. Fortunately for him, he seems to have zeroed in on his man – Maccabi Tel-Aviv scoring machine Eran Zahavi.

According to The Sun, Rafa Benitez wants the 28-year-old Israeli striker to join his team to help answer the team’s significant scoring issues. Last season Newcastle scored 44 goals – 13th in the league, but not enough to compensate for their 4th most goals allowed.

Zahavi, who has 117 goals in his last three seasons for Maccabi Tel-Aviv, was vital in helping the Israeli Premier League giants secure a spot in the Champions League group stage. He scored seven times in six qualifying matches, leading all players in the Champions League qualifying matches, and went on to score the club’s only group stage goal against FC Porto.

The Maccabi Tel-Aviv captain has reportedly garnered interest from Ajax and the Chinese Super League as well.

Benitez has found surprisingly solid production from Israeli players he has scouted in the past. In 2007 he signed West Ham United midfielder Yossi Benayoun and got 11 goals from the former Israel national team captain in his first year.

Follow Jonathan Machlin on Twitter @jtmlovessports

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