Damari, Luzon unveiled by their new clubs abroad

Omer Damari officially joins RB Leipzig of 2. Bundesliga in Germany; Guy Luzon officially unveiled as the new manager of Charlton Athletic.

January 15, 2015 03:51
2 minute read.
Omer Damari

Omer Damari. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Omer Damari officially joined RB Leipzig of 2. Bundesliga in Germany on Wednesday, completing one of the most expensive transfers ever for an Israeli player.

Leipzig will pay Damari’s previous club, Austria Wien, an estimated 5.5 million euros, a fee which could increase by another 1.5 million euros should the team gain promotion to the Bundesliga.

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The 25-year-old striker signed a three-and-a-half year contract, which will earn him around 700,000 euros a season, a sum that will grow by another half a million euros should Leipzig progress to Germany’s top flight.

“I look forward to the challenge at RB Leipzig. It is a great opportunity for me and I can not wait to get underway,” said Damari, who left Austria a mere six months after joining the club from Hapoel Tel Aviv for a fee of 1.6 million euros.

The transfer fee paid by Leipzig for Damari ranks fourth all-time among Israeli players after Eyal Berkovic (8.8 million euros from West Ham to Celtic), Tal Ben-Haim (7.5 million Euros from Chelsea to Manchester City) and Yossi Benayoun (7.3 million euros from West Ham to Liverpool and 7.0 million euros from Liverpool to Chelsea).

Damari’s new club was taken over by energy drink corporation Red Bull in 2009 and has slowly but surely moved up the leagues after beginning life in Germany’s fifth division.

Leipzig is currently in seventh place in the standings, but is only six points off second, which leads to the Bundesliga.

The second German division is on its winter break, with play to resume in three weeks.

“We are pleased that we were able to sign a dynamic and very prolific player in Omer Damari, which increases our quality in attack again,” said the club’s sports director, Ralf Rangnick. “He has drawn attention to himself by his finishing and this was not only shown in the Austrian league, but also in his previous stops in Israel and in the national team.”

Damari, who is recovering from Mononucleosis, which caused him to miss the past month of action, scored eight goals in 13 league matches in Vienna, while netting 34 goals in 41 matches over all competitions throughout 2014.

“Omer Damari has recently proven his quality in Austria and for the Israeli national team,” said Damari’s new coach Alexander Zorniger.

“He is a center-forward with a proven goal-scoring talent.”

Also Wednesday, Guy Luzon was officially unveiled as the new manager of Charlton Athletic of the English Championship.

“I’m a fan of English football. The tempo, rhythm and atmosphere is fantastic,” he said at the club’s Valley Stadium.

“I hope that with every game the fans know that we have given 100 per cent. When I arrived in Belgium a lot of people said I didn’t have any experience in the Belgian league.

But we took the most points. I love the pressure. It’s part of the game. We just need to think about the next game and bring the right result.”

Luzon, who signed a contract until the end of the 2015/16 season, takes over a Charlton team currently sitting in 14th place in the standings, 10 points off the play-off places, which could lead to Premier League promotion. He will take charge of the Addicks for the first time at Watford on Saturday.

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