|Zatara (L) expected to join Jadue and Pinto Islame in the Malaysian Super League|
May isn’t quite over yet but the gears that move the global transfer market have already started to turn.
The season that was proved to be a banner year for Palestinians plying their trade abroad. Regionally, Abdelatif Bahdari, Islam Batran, and Ahmed Maher moved from the WBPL to the Egyptian and Jordanian leagues, respectively.
In Europe, Mahmoud Eid became the youngest Palestinian national team player to score in Swedish top tier (eclipsing Imad Zatara) and the second youngest Palestinian to score in the top tier of a European league (Roberto Kettlun scored for Skoda Xanthi in 2004 as a 22 year old).
A division below, Ahmed Awad was a critical figure in Dalkurd’s near back-to-back promotion- with the side missing out on the promotion playoffs by one point.
There were promotions for Yashir Pinto and Matías Jaude in Malaysia and who have since continued to score in the Malaysian Super League.
That said, 2016/17 was headlined by three players who may soon find themselves with new clubs.
|Salom (R) scored on his Palestine debut|
In Chile, Carlos Salom became the second Palestinian to score in a Copa Libertadores match and his season for Union Española was nothing short of spectacular. The Argentine-born forward notched four goals in the Cup and a whopping 12 in the Primera to give him 17 goals in 30 starts for the season. When he wasn’t scoring goals, Salom was setting up his teammates- with strike partner Diego Churin benefitting from Salom’s tireless running.
In January, Egyptian giants Zamalek had put in an offer of $600,000 for the forward. Union Española rejected the offer despite the fact that there was only six months left on his contract. Earlier this month, he was heavily linked with Chilean giants Colo-Colo but negotiations have fallen through and reports out of Chile say he is now evaluating a deal from Qatar.
Speaking of Qatar, Imad Zatara and Jaka Ihbeisheh, who both lit up the Qatar Gas League with 12 goals apiece (in 17 games), are not expected to be with their respective clubs Al-Mesaimeer and Al-Shammal.
Imad Zatara who is the most travelled footballer in Palestine’s history (has played and scored in Sweden, Hungary, France, Iran, Bahrain, and Qatar) is likely to add another league to his rich and varied CV. Rumblings out of Malaysia linked the Stockholm-born attacker with Kelantan FA who had sold their Lebanese talisman, Mohammed Ghaddar, to JDT for a record Malaysian fee.
Since then, however, Penang seems to be the more likely possibility with fans of the club already editing the player’s Wikipedia page to reflect the change.