Reports from Israel and the UK have confirmed that Chelsea Football Club have signed former Liverpool winger Yossi Benayoun. The Israeli international, 30, will arrive in London for a medical before signing a 4 year deal with the Premier League champions. There has been a wealth of speculation linking Benayoun with a move away from Anfield and the player himself revealed Chelsea’s interest: “Ancelotti wants me for next season and now everything depends on Liverpool. I believe that in the end I’ll be moving there.” The news comes despite the skilful winger scoring 8 goals in 39 appearances last season, including a dramatic extra time strike against Europa League winners Atletico Madrid. However managerial and boardroom strife at the club, alongside the teams poor on the pitch performance, finishing a dismal 7th in the league seems to have to marked the end of his time at the Merseyside club.
Benayoun started his Premier League career across London at rivals West Ham United, arriving from Racing de Santander for £2.5 Million in the summer of 2005. He went on to make 72 appearances for the East Londoners scoring an unremarkable 8 goals in the process.
He would make the switch to Merseyside in the summer of 2007 with Liverpool paying £5 Million for his services on a four year deal. He would establish himself as a fan favorite and despite never cementing a starting place in the squad he scored several crucial goals, many as an impact substitute, not least an 82nd minute winner against Real Madrid in the Champions League.
His arrival seems to mark the start of a period of change at Stamford Bridge with several popular and long serving Chelsea players departing. The signing of Yossi Benayoun, whilst perhaps not the marquee signing many had hoped for, at least provides Chelsea supporters plenty to discuss as the club signals the start of a new era for the Premier League champions.
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