Hatem Abd Elhamed heading for Celtic exit despite agent's comments; Neil Lennon explains why

By John McGinley

February 6, 2021

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed is heading for an exit from the club, Neil Lennon has confirmed in his post-match interview today.

An unnamed Israeli club look set to sign him on a permanent basis after a fee was agreed.

The Bhoys boss told BBC Radio Scotland (17:00): “Hatem Elhamed might be going back to Israel. A fee’s been agreed. I’m not sure it’s been finalised yet.

“He’s really struggled with life here, his wife and young son are back in Israel and he’s been through a really rough time of it mentally rather than anything else.

“So I think for his wellbeing he really wanted to go home, so that deal’s going to come to fruition, I think, either today or tomorrow.”

The international right-back hasn’t appeared in a Celtic match since coming on as a substitute against Rangers at the beginning of the year.

His last start for the Bhoys back in early December away to AC Milan.

The news comes despite his agent’s assertion that the defender was set to fight for his Celtic future.

Dudu Dahan released a statement on Facebook in December after reports that Elhamed was homesick and wanted to return to his homeland.

Dahan said: “Recently a lot of debunked and wrong news has been published about the Israel and Celtic player Hatem Elhamed.

“The only right thing is that Hatem is proud to belong to a club the size of Celtic.

“After everything he’s been through in his career Hatem is not one to give up so fast. He is more determined than ever to do everything to fight for his place in the wonderful team and club squad.”

Hatem Abd Elhamed faded away at Celtic

Going by Lennon’s comments, there was clearly some truth in Elhamed being unsettled.

However, you can’t really blame him considering the circumstances.

This seems to be a human decision as much as a footballing one. If he wants to be closer to his family then fair play to him.

Celtic defender Hatem Abd Elhamed / (Photo by TIZIANA FABI/AFP via Getty Images)

Elhamed looked impressive at times in his debut season at the club. Unfortunately, his opportunities were hampered by injuries.

His form suffered this term and after a number of mistakes, it became clear he was not going to be the future of the right-back position.

We wish him all the best on his return to Israel.

In other news, Celtic fans were again left impressed by David Turnbull today.