Hapoel Be'er Sheva boss says signing Celtic's Elhamed would be a "huge blessing"

By David Walton

December 14, 2020

Hapoel Be’er Sheva manager Yossi Abukasis has stated that signing Hatem Elhamed from Celtic in January would be a “huge blessing” for the club.

Elhamed is reportedly unsettled in Glasgow, with the Hoops said to be ready to cash in on him next month if a replacement is found (Scottish Sun).

A return back to Israel looks like the most logical step for him with his family now based back home. And after Celtic originally signed the right-back from Be’er Sheva back in the summer of 2019, it’s no surprise that they would be interested in taking him back.

Speaking in comments published by the Scottish Sun, Be’er Sheva boss Abukasis said the following:

“Hatem is an excellent player that every team would want to sign. If we can bring him here to the club it will be a huge blessing for us.

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“But of course there are some excellent players at the club already and we’ll have to wait and see.

“Our ambition this season is to get a European place again. We had a tough time in the Europa League this season and our aim is to get back there next season.”

The logical option

This could’ve been difficult for Celtic had Elhamed been one of the key figures in the starting XI and been impressing on a regular basis. However, he hasn’t managed to get consistent football under his belt since a long-term injury picked up back in November 2019.

Since his return in March, he’s been playing second fiddle to Jeremie Frimpong and continued to pick up niggles. When he has featured, he’s looked a shadow of the player we signed from Be’er Sheva. So there’s not much of a decision to be made here if Be’er Sheva come in.

There’s arguably a moral debate to be had about whether we should really be keeping a player away from his family if they’re based at home and he’s unsettled because of it. And that probably adds more fuel to the idea he should be allowed to depart when the winter window opens.

Hatem Elhamed in action against Sparta Prague / (Photo by Rob Casey/SNS Group via Getty Images)

It’s a real shame this one. Elhamed had the potential to be the right-back who helped roar us to the 10. Instead, it’s been an injury-plagued, inconsistent spell for him.

But even if he does go, the Israeli can point to a Betfred Cup and Scottish Premiership success when he looks back on his time in Glasgow. Should we beat Hearts next week, he’ll have effectively have won himself a treble even if he hasn’t featured much in the Scottish Cup.

It’s no surprise there’s severe interest in him however. Elhamed has all of the attributes to be a top right-back when he’s settled. It looks as though Israel is the only place for him at the moment.

In other news, Neil Lennon failed to take a glorious opportunity that was handed to him today.


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