Maccabi Haifa rolling with usual off-season punches

The Greens waste no time dwelling on what might have been and have a new look in the coming season.

maccabi haifa 311 (photo credit: Adi Avishai)
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 striker.
Besides losing its top scorer from last season, Haifa also seems all but certain to be without defensive anchor Dekel Keinan in the coming campaign.
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 Arik Benado.
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 Adrien Silva.
The 21-year-old joined on a one-year loan deal from Portugal’s Sporting Lisbon.