English Soccer: Ben-Haim joins Man City

26-year-old Israeli signs from Chelsea on a four-year contract for a fee believed to be around £5 million.

ben-haim (photo credit:)
ben-haim
(photo credit: )
Tal Ben-Haim joined Manchester City on a four-year contract on Wednesday for a fee believed to be around £5 million. The 26-year-old struggled at Chelsea last season, making just 13 appearances following his move to the club on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers just over a year ago. His lack of playing time wasn't expected to improve under new Chelsea manager Luiz Felipe Scolari, with John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho immovable objects in the center of the defense, and Ben-Haim decided his future was elsewhere. "I am very pleased, I think I am joining a very good club, a club with ambition and I am very happy," Ben-Haim told Sky Sports News. "Mark Hughes matches my ambition, as a player he won almost everything and I'm sure he will want to win some titles as a manager as well. "I'm very happy to join the club and I hope that we can win titles. Of course it is going to be very difficult, we need time, but I think it's possible," said Ben Haim, who is the second new arrival at City since the appointment of Hughes as manager at the start of last month, following the transfer of Jo from CSKA moscow for £18m. Ben-Haim made 88 appearances in three seasons at Bolton and will be hopeful a return to the north-west will also result in him playing regular soccer once more. "It is in the past," he said of his disappointing season at Chelsea. "I used to play every game at Bolton and then to play less at Chelsea was quite difficult. So I want to play some more football, because I love the game and I miss playing every game." Ben-Haim will have to battle with Micah Richards and Richard Dunne for a place in the center of defense, but he's confident he can work his way into the line-up. "They are very good players, but we can play together," he said of City's top two defenders. "It's a very good club and they are building something new and I am very happy to be part of that." The transfer of the former Maccabi Tel Aviv player, who becomes the second Israeli to join City, following in the footsteps of former favorite Eyal Berkovic, is subject to the player gaining a work permit, although that will be a formality given his regular appearances for Israel.