hen azriel soccer_311.
(photo credit: Maccabi Haifa website)
Betar Jerusalem was handed a lifeline by Maccabi Haifa on Sunday after the reigning Premier League champion purchased striker Hen Azriel for approximately one million dollars. Betar was in desperate need of a cash injection after Dan Adler and Adam Levin pulled out of the deal to purchase the club from Arkadi Gaydamak last Thursday, and Haifa was happy to oblige having long coveted Azriel.
The 23-year-old made his long awaited breakthrough last season, scoring 15 goals in all competitions to finally begin to realize his vast potential.
“Azriel gives our squad more depth and he fits in well with the players we already have,” Haifa chairman Jacob Shahar said on Sunday. “However, the important part of this deal is that it is helping out Betar. I care a lot for that club.”
Haifa was close to signing Azriel three weeks ago, but the transfer fell through after the player and the club failed to reach an agreement regarding personal terms.
However, following the renewed ownership vacuum at Betar, chairman Itzik
Kornfein approached Haifa once more and managed to revive the deal.
The sale of Azriel combined with pay cuts at the club, should allow
Betar to post a balanced budget and open the coming season as planned.
Azriel, who trained with the Greens for the first time on Sunday
evening, will not be able to play in Haifa’s Champions League third
qualifying round return leg at NK Maribor on Wednesday, but he will be
available for the playoff round should Maccabi advance.