The scouting team of Maccabi Haifa marked Goni Naor at the beginning of the season as a player who could come to the club and make a leap.
The data collected indicated an intelligent player with good technique, but with physical deficiencies and a need to improve his game speed.
The pressure to sign a midfielder before the group stage of the Champions League brought the Greens into negotiations with Hapoel Jerusalem.
Naor himself asked not to practice until the negotiations were exhausted, and made it clear that he wanted to move to a big club.
But the Champions League window closed, and Naor could only sign as a league player.
This situation was less attractive.
Haifa was not ready to pay more than a million shekels for him and the deal fell through, but the name remained on the table, knowing that the 23-year-old midfielder would be free this summer.
Four months have passed since then, and there are many players who would have had difficulty dealing with such a situation, where their dream of advancing professionally and financially was blocked.
Some were angry at the management for not selling them, but not in Naor's case.
In the meantime, in Jerusalem they are still enjoying it, photo: Barney Ardov
The captain of Hapoel Jerusalem, who actually grew up in Beitar, from there he moved to Maccabi Tel Aviv and then joined the ranks of the Red-Blacks from the capital as a teenager, realized very quickly that if he wanted to advance in the near future, and this year he ends his contract - he must continue to display the ability that brought him to the national team Israel.
Naor didn't make any faces, made it clear to everyone that he was focused only on the success of the team from the capital, continued to participate in social events, and demonstrated leadership on and off the field.
The follow-up continues
Despite his great connection to the club and the fans, some of whom see him as "an example of everything this club represents", both Naor and the Jerusalemites understand that it is only a matter of time before he moves on to the next stop in his career.
The midfielder is part of several players with great potential in the team, who are marked in the registers of the majors after their success this season.
Maccabi Haifa, Hapoel BS, Maccabi Netanya and several other overseas teams have already shown interest in Naor over the past few months.
Goni Naor (in the center).
Leader of Hapoel Jerusalem, photo: Alan Shiver
Hapoel Jerusalem recently offered the player a long-term contract to secure his future and also "insure" themselves against a possible sale, because if he doesn't sign a new contract now, they may lose him in the summer for nothing.
As of this moment, the contract has not been signed, and Naor is trying to show that he belongs in a big team next season.
Maccabi Haifa continues to follow him, when in the middle he also became a national team player.
The expected departure of Neta Lavi and the uncertainty regarding the rest of the link players next season leave Naor's name on the table.
The expected departure leaves options open, photo: Maor Alxalsi
Even today there are differences of opinion in Haifa regarding the possibility that he will become a potential player who can lead a major club in Israeli football, certainly one that has ambitions in Europe.
Tonight Naor will meet the group with whom he was in negotiations and still dreams of reaching.
If he proves himself, it is possible that this transition will happen, maybe even sooner than thought.
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