Lauren Maccabi Tel Aviv soccer 248.
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Maccabi Tel Aviv chairman Aviv Bushinsky said Wednesday that concerns over the effects of previous injuries on former Arsenal right bank Lauren are the main obstacle to the player signing with the Israeli club.
"We want to take him but the fact that he was injured a while ago has given us some hesitation. We will consult with our medical staff this weekend and give him an answer,"Bushinsky told The Jerusalem Post about the defender who played the first half of Maccabi's training match at Hapoel Rishon Lezion on Tuesday.
The 32-year-old Cameroonian, who was an integral part of the Gunners' double winning team of 2002, has returned to Spain where he is awaiting a decision.
Lauren moved from Arsenal to Portsmouth two years ago but spent the last year out of the game with a knee injury and was released from his contract in June, leaving him without a club.
On Wednesday he made it clear that he would love to play for Tel Aviv.
"I hope everything is resolved quickly because I am very excited to sign for Maccabi and start this new stage in Israel," Lauren told Spanish sports newspaper AS. "I found it to be a very serious, professional club with a great atmosphere."
On Tuesday new Maccabi owner Mitch Goldhar also left the country, returning to Canada after a stay during which he attended Tel Aviv's first league game of the season against Bnei Sakhnin.
Bushinsky said he has not discussed possible costs of employing a player of Lauren's stature.
"We haven't talked money. The nature of his [Lauren's] visit was more to make an impression and take an impression of Israel. He wanted to see the country and he liked it. And we wanted to take the opportunity to see some of his abilities. When it enters the phase of negotiations we will discuss money.
"We have to be very cautious because of course there are economic limitations and we also have limitations on the number of foreign players in the team.
"At the beginning of next week both sides will decide whether to continue. If so, we will try and sign him. Now things aren't clear but we still want to exercise the option to sign him."