Keeper Awat expects his New Year Sporting chance


Dudu Awat is expected to join Sporting Gijon after agreeing a six-month loan deal.

The 31-year-old Israeli international goalkeeper will leave Deportivo La Coruna although his agent, Ronen Katzav, said there is also a chance that the former Maccabi Haifa player could sign for Real Mallorca or Espanyol. Awat joined Deportivo in the summer of 2006 and was considered one of the Spanish league’s top goalkeepers.

But the Israeli’s fortunes plummeted last January following a training ground punch-up with reserve keeper Gustavo Munua, which left Awat with a broken nose. Deportivo manager Miguel Lotina blamed both keepers, and despite playing in the closing months of last season, Awat has failed to appear for Deportivo this campaign.

At newly promoted Gijon, who are mid-table in La Liga, Awat would be reunited with manager Manolo Preciado, who was his coach at Racing Santander before he joined Deportivo. Preciado is in desperate need of a keeper after first choice Ivan Cuellar broke his ankle earlier this month and is out for the rest of the season. “I’d love to play for Gijon,” said Awat. “I know Preciado and I’d be happy to play for him again.”

The deal has yet to be completed as Gijon are only prepared to take Awat on loan until the end of the season. For this reason, Katzav has urged him not to rush into the deal as both Real Mallorca and Espanyol have made enquiries with a view to offering a three-year contract. Borussia Monchengladbach are also interested but Awat prefers to remain in Spain.

Roman Abramovich’s $2 million Channel One Cup tournament in Israel, involving leading Russian and Ukrainian clubs, has been cancelled after Zenit St Petersberg, Spartak and Dynamo Moscow withdrew.

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