Icelandic striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson.
(photo credit: MACCABI TEL AVIV WEBSITE)
Maccabi Tel Aviv broke its previous record for the most expensive transfer in Israeli soccer history on Tuesday, agreeing to pay Swedish side Malmo FF around 3.5 million euro for the services of Icelandic striker Vidar Orn Kjartansson.
The 26-year-old, who successfully completed his medical and signed a four-year deal on Tuesday, was brought in with the aim of helping to fill the void left by the departure of the prolific Eran Zahavi earlier this summer.
Kjartansson, who scored 14 goals in 20 league appearances for Malmo since his January transfer from Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning, is part of the Iceland squad to face Ukraine on September 5. He did not play with the national team during its impressive Euro 2016 campaign.
The deadline to register players for the Europa League group stage is midnight on Wednesday and Maccabi may still further bolster its squad in the final day of the transfer window.
Kjartansson’s move broke the transfer record set by Maccabi last summer when it paid Red Star Belgrade in the region of 3.0 million euro for Serbian goalkeeper Predrag Rajkovic.
“It’s been a very long day which started in Copenhagen this morning.
“In a really short period of time, I managed to have a quick tour of the city and was pleasantly surprised,” Kjartansson told the Maccabi website. “I met with Jordi Cruyff and coach Shota Arveladze, completed a medical and visited the club’s offices to see from close range that this is a big club. I obviously know the team qualified to the Europa League group stage and played last season in the Champions League. I watched some of the matches as it was a really tough group. I am very excited to sign for Maccabi Tel Aviv as I know this is the biggest club in Israel with amazing fans and a great history.”
Kjartansson first left Iceland In January 2014, moving to Norway to join Valerenga Oslo. He scored 31 goals in 33 appearances before being sold to Chinese club Jiangsu.
The striker netted 13 goals in 35 appearances in China before returning to Scandinavia and joining Malmo.
“Vidar is a prolific goal scorer with an outstanding record who we tried signing for a long time and are delighted to have finally achieved our objective and we hope he will now help us achieve more,” Maccabi sports director Jordi Cruyff told the club’s official website.
Hapoel Beersheba, which will also play in the Europa League group stage, signed Hungarian defender Mihaly Korhut on Monday. The 27-year-old leaves Hungarian side Debrecen and is expected to step into the shoes left by left-back Ofir Davidzada, who joined Gent in Belgium.