Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed has opened up on the moves he took in order to push through a transfer to Parkhead.
The Israeli has been a constant in the Celtic side since arriving in the summer for a reported £1.6million (Scottish Sun). He joined the club from Hapoel Be’er Sheva, where he was one of the first names on the team-sheet on a consistent basis.
But despite that, Elhamed has revealed that he refused to play for them in a Europa League qualifier as Celtic looked to crank up a move. It was a decision that didn’t best please his manager or chairman at the time either. If he did, however, he wouldn’t have been able to play for Celtic in Europe.
Speaking to the Daily Record, the right-back/centre-back had this to say on what happened before he arrived.
“When you tell your manager a couple of hours before an extremely important game that you are refusing to play, it’s a super dramatic thing. I made an exceptionally courageous decision because I knew if I hadn’t done that, I probably wouldn’t have been able to make a transfer to Celtic.
“We were in Albania to play Laci in a Europa League game and it was clear I was going to be starting. It was massively important to the club because we needed a good European run.
“But on the morning of the game I got a phone call telling me that if I played with Be’er Sheva, the transfer to Celtic was off because I then wouldn’t be able to play for Celtic in Europe.”
Difficult to blame Elhamed when you weigh everything up
More often than not, it’s largely looked down upon when players refuse to play for a team in the midst of a transfer saga. Particularly when they’re trying to force through that transfer.
However, in most of these situations, it’s not because the deal would be off if they played. Whereas that’s exactly what the situation was for the new Celtic defender. Elhamed’s deal would apparently have been off if he featured in Albania. You can hardly blame him for deciding against it to help get the deal done.
Hopefully, if the Israel international continues his fine form over the next few years, we don’t find ourselves in the same position. But it shows just how much he wanted to get his move to Parkhead.
Elhamed also went on to explain how he wrote a long message for the manager and chairman to tell them he didn’t want to play. They apparently didn’t respond too kindly to it. But in the end Elhamed has gotten exactly what he was after.
Now, it’s all eyes on the future, and Celtic fans have generally fallen in love with the new man. It was the right move for all parties in the end, and so far it’s been a tremendous success.
Next up is Hamilton Accies for the Israel star, and it’s going to be a bit of a culture shock when he rocks up at New Douglas Park. With a bit of luck, he deals with that as efficiently as he has done with everything else.