Vermouth bolts Mac TA for Mac Haifa

Disgruntled Israel international allowed to leave yellow-and-blue for free after disappointing year.

February 4, 2016 03:50
2 minute read.
Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gili Vermouth (left) will hope to improve on his mediocre debut

Maccabi Tel Aviv midfielder Gili Vermouth (left) will hope to improve on his mediocre debut. (photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)

Just one year after arriving at Maccabi Tel Aviv from Hapoel Tel Aviv for 700,000 euros amid much frenzy, Gili Vermouth was released for free by the yellow-and-blue on Wednesday, joining Maccabi Haifa.

For a second straight year, Vermouth was involved in the most talked about transfer of the local January window, ultimately signing with Haifa in the final day of the window on Wednesday following endless speculation regarding his future.

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Vermouth left Hapoel Tel Aviv for the yellow- and-blue last year in a dramatic final day to the winter transfer window, just one day after the arch-rivals met in the derby.

Hapoel received 700,000 euros and two players on loan until the end of the season for his services, but Vermouth didn’t settle at Maccabi, making just 30 appearances over all competitions, 11 of them as a substitute. He failed to score a single goal and registered only one assist.

Reports on Monday linked him with a shocking move back to Hapoel, but the club released a statement late Monday night, reading: “Gili Vermouth has not signed for Hapoel Tel Aviv and will not sign. Period, end of story.”

Haifa was hoping to bring Vermouth aboard all along, and after the option to join Hapoel fell through, Vermouth met with Greens owner Jacob Shachar on Tuesday and the two reached an agreement.

Maccabi initially looked to send Vermouth to Haifa on a loan deal until the end of the season, with the Greens having an option to make the move permanent in the summer. However, Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar eventually decided he wanted to completely cut ties with the disgruntled player, choosing instead to release him from the club.

“Maccabi Tel Aviv agreed on the release of Gili Vermouth from his contract after repeated requests from the player over the past few months to leave the club,” read a Maccabi statement. “Gili has shown that he was not comfortable to remain at Maccabi and has made clear his wishes to leave.”

While Vermouth grabbed most of the headlines, there were plenty of other moves completed on Wednesday.

Hapoel Beersheba, which leads the Premier League standings by three points from Maccabi, signed striker Mohammad Ghadir on a three-and-a-half year deal.

Beersheba paid Belgian club Lokeren 300,000 euros for his services after he made only six appearances for the team since joining last June. Ghadir scored 21 goals in 61 Premier League appearances in two seasons at Bnei Sakhnin before leaving for Belgium.

Following Ghadir’s addition, out-of-favor striker Shlomi Arbeitman looked to leave Beersheba. However, his move to Hapoel Haifa is under review after his transfer forms were filed with the Israel Football Association six minutes after the end of the deadline.

Hapoel Tel Aviv was also busy on Wednesday, signing Nemanja Nikolic from BATE Borisov of Belarus, Hamza Barry from Maccabi Netanya and Gal Shish from Volyn Lutsk of the Ukrainian league. Hapoel signed nine players in total in the transfer window, with new coach Eli Gutman aiming to overhaul the squad.

Since last summer, Hapoel has brought in a ridiculous amount of 33 players.

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