According to the latest reports from the Scottish Sun, Hapoel Be’er Sheva’s centre back Hatem Abd Elhamed was left out of the Europa League qualifiers squad amid interest from Celtic. Reports in Israel claimed that he told the team management that he wasn’t ready to play in the match.
The 28-year-old has been linked with Celtic in the last few days and reports last week came out that Celtic weighed up a £1.6m move for the centre back. Elhamed recently made his debut for Israel’s national team at the age of 28, so it is fair to say that he has been a late bloomer.
Why might Celtic be interested in a centre back?
Celtic would probably still want to add one more centre back to their squad this summer after the signing of Christopher Jullien. The club had lost two defenders from last season as Filip Benkovic returned to Leicester City after his loan spell and Dedryck Boyata left for Hertha Berlin after his contract expired.
The club has the likes of Jack Hendry, Kristoffer Ajer and Jozo Simunovic as the other options but it seems as if Hendry isn’t ready to play for Celtic yet. Therefore it is understandable why Lennon might want to add one more centre back in his repertoire.
What will this Israel international bring at Parkhead?
Elhamed started his career as a winger but was shifted in defence later on. He remains a versatile player for his side as he can fill in as a right back and as a defensive midfielder. The defender has the experience of playing in the Europa League as well. The centre back spent two seasons with Belgian heavyweights Gent.
The 28-year-old had an impressive campaign last season, which is why he was drafted into the national team not too long ago. The defender is known for physical strength and ability to carry the ball from the back.
We feel that the defender’s versatility is one of the primary reasons why Celtic are after him. The club desperately needs a right back, and someone like Elhamed can be seen as a backup option in the heart of the defence as well as on the right side of it.
However, if Celtic are looking for a top choice, then they should aim a bit higher. Moreover, Elhamed is already 28, and he wouldn’t be a long term option at Celtic Park. The club needs to make sure that they don’t end up making another Marvin Compper kind of mistake in the transfer market.
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