Mohammad Abu Fani: Who is the Celtic-linked Israeli international, Liel Abada link-up, not afraid of a card
As Scottish Premiership champions they will be in Pot 4 for the draw which will bring at least £30million into the club.
With that, it will be interesting to see the transfer business done by Ange Postecoglou as they looks to build-on and strengthen a squad he has largely put together with some shrewd recruitment so far, from Joe Hart to Kyogo Furuhashi, via Josip Juranovic and Matt O’Riley.
One player Celtic have been linked is Israeli international Mohammad Abu Fani.
The 24-year-old has a reported value of £800,000 and is coming off the back of a title-winning campaign with Maccabi Haifa, his second league win for the Israeli giants.
It is a market familiar to Celtic. Beram Kayal, Nir Bitton and Liel Abada have all been shrewd captures by the club, while Hatem Abd Elhamed was solid enough in defence.
Abu Fani is best described as an all-action midfielder. He tends to play in a midfield three for club and country and it is easy to see how he would fit into an Ange Postecoglou team due to his energy with and without the ball.
He steps onto the ball well, looking to move forward if given the chance, especially receiving possession with the game in front of him. He’s not afraid to give it away if he tries a through ball or long pass from deep. He ranked fourth for attempted through passes per 90 minutes.
In Israel’s recent 2-2 draw with Iceland, Abu Fani played a key part in Liel Abada’s opening goal, flicking the ball around the corner to free Manor Solomon to cross for the Celtic winger coming in at the back post.
However, his lack of consistency and perhaps finesse in the final third could be seen in an earlier incident when he received the ball in a really good position outside the Iceland box with his back to goal but was unable to control and turn.
Hustle and bustle
Without the ball he brings a hustle and bustle, keen to put pressure on opposition players and is no stranger to a yellow card with 14 across all competitions.
He has a squat frame, low-centre of gravity but that doesn't stop him getting about the pitch well. And he likes to move.
In midfield, he doesn’t tend to have a defined position. Sometimes he will pull wide on the left to collect possession, allowing the full-back to push and winger to move infield. He’ll then be pressing on the right-hand side. It works vertically as well. He’s as happy driving on as he is dropping deeper to get on the ball and make a lateral switch of play.
Highly-rated in Israel with 13 caps since making his debut against Scotland less than two years ago, he looks like a player who, with the right coaching and guidance could develop into a handy midfielder player capable of performing different midfield roles, such are his physical and technical skills.