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Monday, December 18, 2006

More re Israel Forward Omer Golan & QPR

[Article says QPR/John Gregory made an approach in April! Says he was injured. The article does NOT say he's coming to QPR now (as was reported yesterday- - See December 17 - QPR Report "Israeli omer golan to QPR?"
Haaretz- December 18, 2006 Back from injury, Golan bides time before big break - By Moshe Boker

In April of this year, John Gregory, the newly appointed manager of English second-division team Queens Park Rangers, arrived on a lightening visit to Israel, and placed a 1.5-million-euros offer on the table for Maccabi Petah Tikva striker Omer Golan.
The team's owners, the Luzon family, turned him down. They wanted 2.5 million euros, and even super-agent David Abu could not bridge the differences. The negotiations broke down and Golan's hopes of a 450,000-euro-a-season salary went up in smoke.

A few days after the meeting in Tel Aviv Golan suffered a stomach muscle injury, his third serious injury in six months: Previously he had suffered a concussion after a clash with Hapoel's Toto Tamuz in the Petah Tikva derby and two months later he tore a hamstring.
Golan, whose career appeared to back on track after the first two injuries, couldn't believe it was happening to him again. He had just received a call-up for Israel's Euro 2008 qualifiers against Andorra and Estonia, and was looking forward to a quantum leap in his career.
But Golan wasn't at all angry at the team's owners for not letting him take up the chance to play in England and earn a dream salary. On the contrary: He is grateful to the Luzons.
"When I was injured the Luzons gave me piece of mind," says Golan. "'Take your time,' they told me. 'Don't hurry, take care of yourself and see the best doctors in the world.' When I begged to return to action they wouldn't let me. I'm sure at a lot of clubs there would have been pressure on me to make an early return."
What did you think a few weeks earlier when the Luzons wouldn't let you leave for QPR?
Golan: "I wasn't angry. Whatever the Luzons decide is good for me, because I truly love them."

Anyone who is familiar with the relations between the Luzons and the 27-year-old striker knows that he is not just paying lip service. Coach Guy Luzon was the one who took Golan to the youth team, and former chairman Avi Luzon was the one who refused to sign his release at the age of 12 when his family moved to Eilat. Avi Luzon wasn't prepared to let the young prodigy go and offered him a place in his home. When Golan turned him down, saying he was a "mummy's boy," Luzon flew him in from Eilat every weekend to play for the youth team.
A little help from the rabbis
"I thought back then that Avi Luzon was an idiot," recalls Golan. "All the way there and back I would say to myself: 'What a jerk he is, paying for me to fly there and back from Eilat for a youth team match.' But now I know that Avi is a soccer genius and the best scouter I know."
But even the Luzon's couldn't break the jinx that plagued Golan over the past six months and the striker decided to seek outside, if not divine, intervention. After intensive treatment in Italy for his stomach muscle injury Golan landed straight in the courtyard of Rabbi Yeshayahu Pinto to receive a blessing.
"I felt a need to receive a blessing and I have no doubt that it worked," says Golan. "Since seeing the rabbi I scored the winning goal against Hapoel Tel Aviv and scored twice on Saturday against Herzliya in my first full game since returning from injury."
It was Golan's return from injury that exposed the first crack in the idyllic relations between the striker and the Luzons - albeit a short-lived one.
Golan: "When I came back from Italy the doctors said I could play, but Guy Luzon decided I would have to wait. Physically I felt that I was ready, but Luzon said no. I really wanted to play and I was offended. I was angry at Guy and I felt he was doing me an injustice. But today I understand that it was all in my best interests."
Not here for long
"Omer isn't even at 30 percent of his ability," says Guy Luzon. "He has been through a very difficult injury and our decision was to bring him back gradually. Omer is a tough character; he is a winner and he is determined. I'm sure that a lot of other players would not have returned to the game after the kind of injuries Omer has been through. I think that 90 percent of them would have quit the game.
"Omer has everything a striker needs and everything a manager in Europe wants. If he already has three goals so shortly after making his return and he is not yet at his full ability - I think that says a lot about who Omer is."
David Abu says he doesn't think it will be long before Golan finally finds himself playing in England: "Petah Tikva deserves credit for turning down Gregory's offer, because Golan will play in England for a bigger sum. If it weren't for his injuries over the past six months, he would already be there. I have no doubt, based on what I am hearing from managers in England, that within another six months Golan won't be in Israel - Haaretz

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