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Sahar, Ben (2006-2009)


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Ben Sahar (2006-2009)

Written by Jimboola69 and last updated August 2009

Ben Sahar-superstar-wears-the-cross-of-St David-and-he-drives-a-car. That is the chant (to the tune of Jesus Christ Superstar) that myself and some friends started up as Israeli sensation Ben Sahar warmed up on the sideline at the Bridge in early 2007. To be honest it did not exactly catch on. However every player needs a chant and certainly this youngster looks as if he will be at Chelsea for a long long time. So a good chant will be needed. I am just 'doing my bit' as they said during the war.

sahar%20israel.jpg Having signed for the Blues in May 2006 from Hapoel Tel Aviv for in Israel for £320,000 Sahar was already the cause of great interest in his homeland. In a nation that only recently had known what it was like to win international games with any regularity, interest in the national team has risen greatly over the years and a more multicultural nature with the clubs and nations representative teams had the effect of more and more young players coming through. Although there are now Israeli internationals playing all over Europe, it is Ben Sahar that has for the past two years caused the greatest interest.

Sahar first came to attention of Chelsea scouts during an U-16's tournament, while playing against Ireland. This alerted Chelsea who arranged a two month period on trial at the Bridge. Any work permit problems were remedied when he obtained Polish citizenship thanks to his mother Batya being of Polish origin. He signed with little hesitation.

Word soon got around the Chelsea support that we had this Israeli wonderkid and he began to feature on highlights from the youth team on the Sky channel Chelsea TV (CH-412). Before long his goals and performances had earned him a promotion to the reserves games, often battling against Premiership experienced defenders, yet taking it in his stride and impressing with his maturity and skills.

sahars%20full%20debut%20in%20fa%20cup%20 Before long his goals and performances had earned him a promotion to the reserves games, often battling against Premiership experienced defenders, yet taking it in his stride and impressing with his maturity and skills.Such was his progression that with injuries hitting both the Chelsea first team and Israeli national team, seventeen year-old Sahar found himself being included in first team squads for both.

ben%20sahar%20vs%20macc%20town%20fa%20cu January 2007 saw his first team debut against Macclesfield in the FA Cup, as a replacement for Salomon Kalou. This was followed a week later with his Premiership debut against Wigan when he replaced Arjen Robben. That same month he made his international debut, and in his third appearance for Israel in March 2007 he he plundered his first (and second) goals for his country against Estonia as a substitute in Israel's 4-0 win. With seemingly nothing in his way, politics has placed a rather large speedbump in Sahar's way.

All Israeli citizens must participate in a 3-year term of national service, and Sahar would normally be liable to return home, and stay there serving his nation for three years, possibly returning after this to pick up a football career.

There are however moves to amend this law, and such is Ben's stature in the country that the amendment is even nicknamed "The Ben Sahar Law". This would allow him 'serve' his country in sporting ways, such as playing for the national team.

sahar%20qpr%20december%202007.jpg During the 2007/08 season, Sahar joined Championship side Queens Park Rangers, for an initial three-month loan period. His loan deal was soon extended to January but due to injuries he did not play many games. Sahar then moved on an initial one-month loan to Sheffield Wednesday. Wednesday were fighting relegation and Sahar's goals proved a big hit. The loan was extended until the end of the season culminating in him scoring to help save them from relegation on the last day of the season. At 1-0 down, Ben was instrumental in helping to turn the game, scoring and setting one up as they won 4-1. Sahar has agreed to a 6-month loan to Portsmouth for the new season where hopefully he will pick up valuable experience and Premiership playing time.

Updated by Loz in August 2009

Sahar’s loan spell at Pompey was as memorable as a Jimmy Carr joke. He did play for them during their pre-season games but his first team experiences was limited to three 90 minutes sitting on the subs bench.

In January 2009 we sent him out on loan again, this team to Dutch side Eredivisie. He faired a little better there making 22 appearances and scoring 6 goals.

Despite the hopes of many of us, and his early promise, it seemed inevitable that he was never going to make the grade at Chelsea and in the summer of 2009 we agreed to a £1m transfer to Espanyol.

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