Damari staying local, headed to Hap TA

The 22-year-old, who scored 15 goals in 31 Premier League appearances last season, seemed destined to sign with Scottish powerhouse Celtic last week.

By
July 3, 2011 23:43
1 minute read.
Omer Damari

Omer Damari_311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

 
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Hapoel Tel Aviv has won the race to sign one of the most sought-after commodities in the Israeli soccer transfer market this summer, announcing on Sunday that it has reached a surprise deal with Maccabi Petah Tikva for the services of striker Omer Damari.

The 22-year-old, who scored 15 goals in 31 Premier League appearances last season, seemed destined to sign with Scottish powerhouse Celtic last week.

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However, Petah Tikva owner Amos Luzon outraged the Bhoys by declaring that a deal had been struck even though the Scots claimed that they had never even made an official bid.

Hapoel wasted little time and agreed to meet Petah Tikva’s asking price, paying 1.5 million euros for a 50 percent stake of Damari.

“I’m very excited to be joining Hapoel,” Damari said. “I have always dreamed of playing for this club and I would like to thank Eli Tabib and Dror Kashtan for signing me. The negotiations with Celtic didn’t work out, but for me Hapoel is like Europe.”

The addition of Damari will help pacify Hapoel fans angry with the on-going dispute between owners Tabib and Moni Harel and the departure of several star players.

Damari will help replace Ben Sahar, who after one-season on-loan at Hapoel is set to join French club AJ Auxerre, and Itai Shechter, who is close to completing his move to Kaiserslautern, joining Hapoel teammate Gili Vermut.

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“Damari is one of the best strikers in Israel and it is no coincidence that he has played for the national team at such a young age,” Kashtan said of the striker, who has two goals in two appearances for Israel.

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