maccabi haifa 311.
(photo credit: Adi Avishai)
After missing out on the Premier League title in the final seconds of last season, Maccabi Haifa has gone through a summer of transformation.
A stoppage-time goal in the final match gave Hapoel Tel Aviv the league title at the expense of Haifa, but the Greens wasted no time dwelling on what might have been and will have a new look in the coming season.
Haifa lost its top scorer on Tuesday when Shlomi Arbeitman, who led the
Premier League with 28 goals in the 2009/10 season, moved to Belgian
club K.A.A. Gent for a transfer fee of one million euros.
Much of that money will go towards the signing of Betar Jerusalem’s
promising midfielder Idan Vered.
The 21-year-old showed plenty of promise in the past season and will
join a squad which already includes many youngsters from the Haifa youth
system, including the likes of Eyal Golasa and Mohammad Ghadir.
Vered may soon also be united with his former Betar teammate Toto Tamuz,
who has been earmarked as a replacement for Arbeitman.
Tamuz scored 12 league goals for Betar last season, which is in
desperate need of income and is looking to cash in on the 22-year-old
Besides losing its top scorer from last season, Haifa also seems all but
certain to be without defensive anchor Dekel Keinan in the coming
The 25-year-old Keinan, who has been an integral part of the Haifa
defense since the 2006/07 season, refused to renew his contract at the
club last season and is expected to move to Europe on a free transfer in
the coming weeks.
Keinan is hoping for an offer from a club in the Spanish, German or
English leagues, but even should one not arrive he has got options in
the Belgian and Russian top flights.
One player who will help fill the void left by Keinan’s departure is
The 36-year-old began his career at Haifa and won six league titles and
two State Cups with the team.
Benado, who spent the last four seasons playing at Betar Jerusalem,
helping the side to two championships and two cups, requested a meeting
with club owner Jacob Shahar and coach Elisha Levy and the three agreed
he would join Haifa for the final season of his career.
Another player who will play for the side is Portuguese midfielder
The 21-year-old joined on a one-year loan deal from Portugal’s Sporting