‘Huge Blessing’ Be’er Sheva boss targets Elhamed amid strong interest in Celtic man

There certainly seems to be no shortage of interest in Celtic’s homesick Israeli international defender Hatem Elhamed with at least three clubs vying to bring him home after it was revealed last week that he would be leaving Celtic after failing to settle in Scotland.

Elhamed’s wife and son returned to Tel Aviv after she was refused a work permit in the UK and the boy struggled with the language and making friends at school. Mrs Elhamed previously operated a successful fitness business and hoped to follow that career in Glasgow but was frustrated by red-tape.

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Having returned home, leaving the Celtic defender alone in the city and with little or no outside contact outside the short training sessions at Lennoxtown, life in Glasgow became very difficult for the 29 year old. After a heart to heart with the club last week it was decided to allow the player to leave on compassionate grounds provided Celtic can recoup their transfer fee and that looks increasingly likely amid strong interest in Elhamed from clubs in Israel.

Perhaps the most likely option would be a move back to his old club Maccabi Haifa and their manager Yossi Abukasis has been speaking about the desirability of bringing the Celtic man back to the club, amid competition from the likes of Beitar Jerusalem and Maccabi Tel Aviv.

“Hatem is an excellent player that every team would want to sign,” Abukasis stated as reported by Daily Record. “If we can bring him here to the club it will be a huge blessing for us.

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“But of course there are some excellent players at the club already and we’ll have to wait and see. Our ambition this season is to get a European place again.

“We had a tough time in the Europa League this season and our aim is to get back there next season. It was tough because we had to play so many games, but our aim now is to keep climbing the table as quickly as possible.”

Elhamed wasn’t named in the Celtic squad for the 2-0 win against Kilmarnock yesterday and it seems that his Celtic career is for all intents and purposes over. Nevertheless everyone in the Celtic support will wish him and his family all the very best.

About Author

The Celtic Star founder and editor, who has edited numerous Celtic books over the past decade or so including several from Lisbon Lions, Willie Wallace, Tommy Gemmell and Jim Craig. Earliest Celtic memories include a win over East Fife at Celtic Park and the 4-1 League Cup loss to Partick Thistle as a 6 year old. Best game? Easy 4-2, 1979 when Ten Men Won the League. Email editor@thecelticstar.co.uk

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