Ben Haim’s City deal is delayed by wage dispute

By Simon Griver, July 25, 2008
Tal Ben Haim's move from Chelsea to Manchester City is being held up by protracted contract negotiations. He stayed behind as Chelsea left on their Far East tour.

Ben Haim's agent, Pini Zahavi, wants a five-year contract worth £65,000-a-week, matching the player's wages at Stamford Bridge. The Eastlands' outfit have tabled a four-year deal believed to offer £5,000-a-week less.

Portsmouth and Spurs are waiting in the wings if the proposed deal collapses but new City boss Mark Hughes will be reluctant to give up on the 26-year-old as he seeks to strengthen his defence.

Deportivo La Coruna keeper Dudu Awat has turned down a move to Primera Liga side Recreativo Huelva in the hope of attracting a bigger club. The Israeli national stopper, who has fallen out with Deportivo manager Miguel Angel Lotina, has been linked with Valencia, who are looking for a player to compete with Timo Hildebrand for the first-team jersey.

Israeli teenager Gai Assulin has returned to training with Barcelona's reserves after being prevented from leaving Israel by the army last week.

The 17-year-old - who became the youngest player to represent Israel earlier this year when he was 16 - had refused to attend a pre-conscription interview with the IDF.

Assulin was allowed to return to Spain after backing down over the interview. "Gai will not represent Israel after the end of the year if this matter is not sorted out," said Assulin's lawyer Eyal Yafe. "He has been living in Spain since he was 12 and therefore does not have to serve in the IDF."

The situation was made worse by false claims in the Spanish press that Assulin had not returned to training with Barca on time because he was angry at not being promoted to the first-team squad.

In the Uefa Cup, Hapoel Tel Aviv look set to progress after winning 3-0 at home to Juvenes of San Marino in the first qualifying round. The second leg is on July 31. Hapoel Kiryat Shmona, making their debut in Europe, seem destined for an early exit after drawing 1-1 at home to Mogren of Montenegro.

Bnei Sakhnin are unlikely to qualify for the Uefa Cup after losing 2-1 at home to Deportivo La Coruna in the Intertoto Cup. The second leg is in Spain tomorrow.

Last updated: 3:50pm, July 24 2008