When Dia Saba decided to take advantage of the clause in his contract and be released from Sivaspor in the January transfer window, it happened after a family meeting.
He and his wife Nermin, together with their parents who are in Israel, discussed the situation - and the decision was that unless there was an extraordinary offer from Dubai, the actor would consider returning to Israel.
Saba talked to those close to him and told about his dream of playing for Maccabi Haifa.
"They already wanted me before and it didn't work out," he told his family.
"Before the sale to Hapoel Be'er Sheva everything was close, but in the end everything turned upside down. This time there is an opportunity, and if there is a good offer I will take it."
Even before the contract was released, professional manager Gal Alberman fumbled about his future and made it clear that the Greens were in the picture.
However, it was made clear that they would not be able to match the numbers he received in Dubai or Turkey.
About two weeks ago, Saba returned to Israel - and again received messages from Maccabi Haifa, but this time Maccabi Tel Aviv also entered the picture, because they knew even then that the sale of Oskar Gloch was closer than ever. At the same time, Ankaragucu and Konyaspor from the Turkish First League promised Saba huge contracts of close to a million dollars , almost double what he could get from one of the biggest teams in Israel.
Green until 2026, photo: courtesy of Maccabi Haifa
Three days ago there was a family meeting again, and all the proposals were put on the agenda.
The family said that if the offers from Israel improve, it might be worth returning to Israel at the age of 30. The actor's representatives, the Katsav brothers, together with an accountant, checked the consequences in terms of taxation in Israel.
In the meantime, the leaders of Ancargocho pressed and convinced Saba to get on a flight in preparation for a signing, but just before takeoff, Maccabi Haifa was again contacted, this time by Saba who asked to sit down.
The circle is closed
Alberman was supposed to come to the press conference organized for the departure of Neta Lavi, but stayed in the center and arrived together with club president Yaakov Shahar and his deputy Uzi Mor, to close the deal.
After a few hours, the terms of the contract were agreed upon.
Saba gave up hundreds of thousands of euros to fulfill his dream.
As a child he supported Maccabi Haifa, so did his family members, and they would come to the games together.
Now the circle is closed, and soon he will be on the grass in Sami Ofer.
"Dia gave up a lot of offers and money to play for Maccabi Haifa," said one of his agents, Gilad Katsav, "in the end it was his decision. Everything was already closed in Turkey and in the end he changed his mind. He wanted to play for Maccabi Haifa and that's the bottom line."
A tie-breaking deal?, Photo: AFP
As mentioned, at the beginning of the season Saba signed with Sivasspor, and in 13 appearances he scored 5 goals.
As far as Maccabi Haifa is concerned, he can solve quite a few problems in the front.
"He can play on the wing, behind the striker and also on the wing," they said with satisfaction in Carmel.
"For a coach like Barak Becher, who likes to change methods while playing and surprise opponents, such a player is a great asset."
Saba with Alberman and Ovadia.
The window deal, photo: courtesy of Maccabi Haifa
Becher and Alberman were the ones who constantly pressed to bring Saba.
After the 0:0 home draw on Saturday against Bnei Rayna, the professional team against Shahar talked about the "need to refresh the squad".
Dia Saba is celebrated in China.
Maccabi Tel Aviv will concentrate on returning the rest of the Israelis, photo: from Twitter
The contact with the striker was made that night, and from there the road to the signing was short.
Saba will be in line with the top earners at Maccabi Haifa - about 450,000 dollars per season are guaranteed to him.
In the summer, he will have the option to release himself from the contract, if he receives a huge offer from Dubai or another group from the Gulf, and perhaps he will also give that up in order to continue the dream he has fulfilled.
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