Celtic departure for Hatem Elhamed looking less and less inevitable
It looked almost certain that Hatem Elhamed would leave Celtic in January as recently as five weeks ago.
The Scottish Sun had reported that he had failed to settle in Scotland without his family. They stated that Celtic were happy to allow the Israeli to depart this month so long as an alternative right-back could be found.
His former club, Hapoel Be’er Sheva, were also interested in the Israel international. Their manager, Yossi Abubakis, stated that it would be a “huge blessing” if his side secured Hatem this month (Daily Record).
It looked inevitable that the Neil Lennon 2019 recruit would be heading back home. The fact he’s only played 15 times this season doesn’t help his cause. Neither does being behind Jeremie Frimpong and (seemingly) Kristoffer Ajer in the right-back pecking order.
However, the picture on Elhamed has changed dramatically over the last month.
Hatem Elhamed now looks likely to stay at Celtic
His agent, Dudu Dahan, issued a statement on his client’s future on New Year’s Eve. Posting on the Scoutpush Facebook page, Dahan said Elhamed was willing to fight for his Parkhead future. That he wasn’t one to give up on his dreams so fast and that he’s “more determined than ever” to make it in Glasgow.
This was a big update, and it’s been backed up in the transfer market so far. Celtic have yet to be linked with a single right-back as we trickle past the first third of the month. There’s no sign of us signing that replacement we would need.
Neil Lennon has hardly been quick to call out for one either. He’s been keen to stress that it’ll be a quiet January (BBC). It’s been reported that he’s eyeing up a new centre-back and winger (Scottish Sun). A right-back however? Seemingly not on the agenda
Elhamed’s renaissance at Parkhead kickstarted when he came on against Rangers for 17 minutes last week. He had previously been out of the picture for the last six league matches.
Lennon has shown in the past that he isn’t afraid to leave players out who won’t be part of our long-term future. Bringing Elhamed back into the mix is another promising sign for those hoping he’s staying.
Since Dahan’s comments, there have been no further reports on Elhamed’s situation. No bids appear to have come in for him, and no clubs have expressed an additional interest. Even if his move looked inevitable at the start of the year, it’s looking a lot less so now.