No Palace visit as Ben goes Dutch

By Simon Griver, January 8, 2009

Ben Sahar snubbed Championship clubs including Crystal Palace to agree a six-month loan deal with Dutch Premier League strugglers De Graafschap.

Sahar, 19, who is under contract to Chelsea until the summer of 2010, had loan spells with Championship sides QPR and Sheffield Wednesday last season. The Israeli striker has been on loan to Portsmouth since the start of the current campaign but failed to make an appearance.

“I had offers from the Championship in England,” said Sahar. “But there the game is based on long balls and much more physical play.

“I felt I needed a change and I saw football in the Dutch league and decided that it is much more suited to my style.”

He will earn 100,000 euros during his spell in Holland and claims to have been guaranteed a starting place in the De Graafschap line up. “The main thing is that I will have a chance to play and prove myself.”

He also turned down an offer to return to Hapoel Tel Aviv, who sold him to Chelsea in 2006. Many in Israel are questioning why Sahar is being given preferential treatment by the IDF, when his peers must serve as PE instructors while playing in Israel’s Premier League.

Amir Efrati wrote in Yediot Ahronot: “Someone got very excited when Sahar looked like he was going to play for Chelsea and invented a clause which allowed him to defer his army service. But now he is exploiting that clause to represent Israel in some Dutch backwater. It is time to come home and enlist.”

Last updated: 6:59pm, January 8 2009