Ben Haim faces City axe

By Simon Griver, December 4, 2008

Manchester City defender Tal Ben Haim is expected to leave Eastlands when the transfer window opens at the end of the month after less than six months at the club.

The Israeli, who signed a four-year contract in July in a £5 million move from Chelsea, has made just eight league appearances for City.

Ben Haim, 26, featured regularly in City's starting line up in the early part of the season but failed to impress. In recent weeks he has fallen out of favour with manager Mark Hughes, and when he was last given an opportunity to start a Premier League game on November 16 in the 2-2 home draw with Hull, he was at fault for Hull's first goal.

Circumstances have changed dramatically at Eastlands since Ben Haim's arrival. When the Israeli was signed, the club was still owned by Thaksin Shinawatra. But a short time later the former Thai prime minister sold out to Abu Dhabi United, which looks set to offer Hughes unlimited financial resources to build a squad capable of challenging for the Premier League title next season. There has been no suggestion that City's Arab chairman Khaldoon Al Mubarak has pressured Hughes to offload Ben Haim.
With 44 national caps, the Israeli will almost certainly be handed further chances to prove himself before the end of the month, probably in the Uefa Cup, with City almost certain of qualification from the group stages. However, Hughes has reportedly decided that the Israeli does not have the quality to help City challenge the big four.

Ben Haim should have no problems finding another Premier League club, having also been linked with Spurs, West Ham and Newcastle in the summer. Harry Redknapp was eager to bring the Israeli to Portsmouth but could not compete financially with City. Now at Spurs, Redknapp may have the opportunity to take Ben Haim to White Hart Lane for a fraction of the price that was being asked for in the summer.

l The agent of Genk's Israeli striker Elyaniv Barda, David Koren, says the striker is 90 per cent certain to stay after being offered a two-year contract extension by the Belgian club. The deal would make the forward, recently linked with moves to Celtic and PSV, the highest-paid player at the club. A source from Genk said: "We will only sell if it's an offer we cannot refuse."

Wycombe Wanderers midfielder Scott Shulton has joined Isthmian League Premier Division side Hendon on a one-month loan.

Last updated: 12:03pm, December 9 2008