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 Posted by ESPN Staff
Jul, 30, 2008

City sign Ben Haim from Chelsea on four-year deal

Tal Ben Haim has revealed Mark Hughes' ambition convinced him to join Manchester City from Chelsea.

The 26-year-old has agreed a four-year contract with City after the two Premier League clubs settled on an undisclosed fee.

It is the Israel international's second transfer in 13 months after he moved to Stamford Bridge on a free transfer from Bolton in June 2007.

The transfer is subject to the former Maccabi Tel Aviv player gaining a work permit although that will be a formality given his regular appearances for Israel - which included two matches against England during qualifying for Euro 2008.

And Ben Haim admitted Hughes influenced his decision to opt for Eastlands.

'I think it's a very good club and a famous club with a lot of ambition,' he said. 'I want to win things with this club and I know for many years that hasn't happened. It'll be hard and it takes time to build something.

'I know Mark Hughes matches my ambition. As a player he won nearly everything and of course he wants to do the same as a manager.

'He has ambition, the passion and the desire to do that and it matches my ambition because I am like that as well. I want to help City to be a better club and to win something.'

Ben Haim also told the club's website, www.mcfc.co.uk, that he turned down the advances of other clubs to sign on at City.

He said: 'I spoke with my agent and even though we had some better offers I preferred to come here because I think it's a good club with a lot of ambition. As I've said, we want to do better things here than over the last few years.

'There were a few other clubs, but after I spoke with the staff here and my family, I think it's the right club to try to build something new. There were some from abroad as well, but I preferred to stay in England.'

Ben Haim added: 'I'm definitely going to give my best to City and give my heart in every game. I hope that we can do good things this season. I'm looking forward to starting the season here.'

Ben Haim is the second new arrival at City since the appointment of manager Hughes at the start of last month.

It is thought he cost around a third of the £18million paid to CSKA Moscow for the services of promising Brazilian striker Jo.

After three seasons at the Reebok Stadium, Ben Haim endured a disappointing campaign at Chelsea during which he started just 13 times as John Terry and Ricardo Carvalho proved immovable objects in the centre of the Blues defence.

To win a centre-back berth at Eastlands he will have to do battle with captain Richard Dunne - who signed a new contract with the club this summer - and England star Micah Richards, however the new recruit could fill a full-back role.

Admitting to his interest in the versatile defender yesterday, Hughes said: '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.'

Meanwhile City striker Bernardo Corradi has returned to Italy to join Reggina after being released. He spent last season on loan at Parma.

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