The pleas of Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Slavisa Jokanovic were finally answered on Thursday when the yellow-and-blue made its second signing of the summer, completing the transfer of Avi Rikan from FC Zurich.
Jokanovic once more urged the club to strengthen the squad following Tuesday’s 5-1 win over Hibernians of Malta which gave the team a 6-3 victory on aggregate and a place in the Champions League third qualifying round.
With defender Tal Ben-Haim being the team’s only signing until that stage and the yellow-and-blue struggling against a semi-professional opponent despite the scoreline, Jokanovic insisted that “now it is time to bring players because already in one week we will be playing a very important game.”
Maccabi, which is looking to reach the Champions League group stage for the second time in club history and the first since the 2004/05 season, hosts Czech champion Viktoria Plzen in the first leg of the third qualifying round on Tuesday.
The 26-year-old Rikan signed a three year deal with Maccabi, leaving Zurich two years after moving to Switzerland from Beitar Jerusalem.
”I’m delighted to join such a big and glorious club as Maccabi Tel Aviv. I am very excited from the return to Israel, meeting my new teammates some of whom I already know very well from my time in Beitar Jerusalem and the national team,” Rikan told the club’s website.
“Obviously the upcoming match on Tuesday is what we’re all focusing on, but we can’t forget that the league is going to begin soon and there are a lot of goals that we want to achieve. Maccabi Tel Aviv is a club that has won so many titles including the league and the State Cup last season so we will have to try and defend those as well.”
Maccabi would still like to add another player before the first leg against Plzen, with the team hoping to reach a deal for the services of Israel international Moanes Dabour with his Swiss club Grasshopper.