Benayoun completes Chelsea switch

By Simon Griver, July 2, 2010

Israel captain Yossi Benayoun joined Premier League champions Chelsea on a four-year deal on Friday.

Benayoun, 30, was at Stamford Bridge on Thursday where he had a personal meeting with club owner Roman Abramovich before agreeing a contract.

The Israeli will reportedly earn £70,000 a week and Chelsea will pay Liverpool an estimated £6.5 million transfer fee.

Benayoun told Chelsea's website: "I am very excited to come to a club like Chelsea, it is a big club and I think it is a dream for every player."

It is understood one of new Reds boss Roy Hodgson's first acts in his new role was to rubber stamp the attacking midfielder’s departure.

Chelsea manager Carlo Ancelotti said: "We are happy to have this new player. Yossi has a lot of quality in midfield and can play in lots of positions. I like his behaviour on the pitch and he will do a great job for us next season."

Benayoun joined Liverpool in 2007 from West Ham for £5 million and played 92 games for the Reds scoring 18 goals. Having started his career with Hapoel Beer Sheva he joined Maccabi Haifa before moving onto Racing Santander in Spain in 2002 and West Ham in 2005.

The move to Chelsea will make Benayoun the most expensive ever Israeli player, beating the £5.75 million fee that Celtic paid West Ham for Eyal Berkovic in 1999.

Last updated: 10:51am, October 13 2010