Thursday, June 14, 2007

Tal Ben Haim Spurns Newcastle, Heads to Chelsea

After making 110 appearances for Bolton over three seasons, 25-year old Israeli defender Tal Ben Haim has agreed to personal terms on a four-year contract with Chelsea. Ben Haim rejected the outreaches of former manager Sam Allardyce to join the Blues at Stamford Bridge instead, and one can't help but second-guess this choice.

The best move for him as a player seemingly would've been to go to Newcastle because he would have immediately been plugged into their center of defense and gotten a start nearly every game. Chelsea already have their captain and England's captain John Terry in the same position, so you know he won't often come out of the lineup, talented Portuguese defender Ricardo Carvalho, and Brazilian international Alex, who featured prominently in the central defense for PSV Eindhoven for the past three seasons. At best, I can see Ben Haim fighting for second-choice at that position.

Of course, that would mean a starting spot, but he would probably be in a rotation with Carvalho and to a lesser extent, Alex. Chelsea most likely offered Ben Haim more money than Newcastle, but for me, it would have had to be a substantial amount more because I would rather start every game and make less money than play for a team where I may not play all the time but make more money.

Here is Chelsea's official press release concerning the move:

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