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Chelsea´s Ben Haim joins Manchester City

SoccerNews in English Premier League 30 Jul 2008

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Israel international defender Tal Ben Haim has joined Manchester City from English Premier League rivals Chelsea, according to the buying club's website on Wednesday.

The 26-year-old will arrive at City on a four-year deal for an undisclosed fee – the second signing since Mark Hughes took over as manager.

It is the Israel international centre-back's second high-profile switch in just over a year, after he moved to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer from Bolton Wanderers in June 2007.

His move is still subject to a work permit although it is expected he will receive one given his regular appearances for Israel, which included two matches against England during the Euro 2008 qualifiers.

Ben Haim will now link up with Brazilian striker Jo, who joined the Eastlands club earlier this month for an estimated 19 million euros.

Although a Bolton regular, Ben Haim started just 13 times at Chelsea where he was unable to displace club captain John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho at the heart of the Blues' defence.

He faces another tough fight for first-team football with City captain Richard Dunne and rising England star Micah Richards, the current central defensive pairing at the club.

However, Ben Haim can also play at full-back. Hughes, speaking Tuesday, admitted City needed cover at the back. “With so many games to play this season it is important to get the balance right.

“Last season the team was weakened when Micah Richards and Richard Dunne were not in it. We are trying to address that.”

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