Ben Haim ready for Big Sam

By Simon Griver, June 19, 2009

FOOTBALL Tal Ben Haim has admitted that the past season was a bitter disappointment but he is confident of rebuilding his Premier League career.

Blackburn Rovers are favourites to sign the Israeli defender who has returned to Manchester City following an unsuccessful loan spell at Sunderland. On holiday in Israel, Ben Haim said: “I was expecting much more from the past season. I’m not satisfied both from the point of view of the number of minutes I got on the pitch and I was hoping to play for a better team. But sometimes you have to drop down to get back up again.”

It is no surprise that Ben Haim, 27, wants to forget the 2008/09 season. He made only nine appearances at City and fell out of favour after reportedly becoming a ringleader in attempts to oust City boss Mark Hughes. He went on loan to Sunderland in January but made only five appearances and did not play after April 4.

“That’s all history,” he said. “I’m training very hard even on holiday here in Israel and looking forward to the new season. My agent Pini Zahavi tells me there is interest and that I should relax and we will talk about things in a few days.”

Blackburn are believed to be the only club interested in signing Ben Haim. Having brought him to Bolton from Maccabi Tel Aviv in 2004, manager Sam Allardyce is confident he will reproduce the form that which earned the defender a move to Chelsea in 2007.

Ben Haim could be involved in a player-plus-cash move with Paraguayan international Roque Santa Cruz moving to City but cash-strapped Rovers would prefer to keep the transfers separate.

They could, however, struggle to meet his £55,000 weekly salary, while Ben Haim, who has three years left on his City contract, will be reluctant to compromise.

Last updated: 10:22am, June 19 2009