Ben Haim 'on his way' to Bridge after new £2m bid

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The Independent Football

Chelsea have resurrected a £2m deal to buy Bolton Wanderers' defender Tal Ben Haim. It had appeared that the transfer was dead after the Premiership champions took the unusual step of announcing last week on their club website that they had failed to reach an agreement.

However, Bolton are now believed to be on the verge of signing the Slovakian international Lubomir Michalik from FC Senec as the Israeli central defender's replacement. They have also taken the 26-year-old Malian defender Fousseni Diawara, who plays for St Etienne, on trial.

A source close to Ben Haim said last night that he was "99 per cent" certain that the Israeli would move to Stamford Bridge. Bolton are understood to be prepared to accept less than the £3m they had demanded for the 24-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

The Bolton manager, Sam Allardyce, said yesterday that he was sure Ben Haim would join Chelsea, although he may have to wait until the summer. "Ben Haim will play for Chelsea," Allardyce said. "Of course, all those clubs who liked Tal, once they knew Chelsea were in for him, could forget about him, because he wasn't going anywhere else."

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