Big Sam fears Tal Chelsea talk
By Alex Dunn
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has spoken about Chelsea's reported interest in Tal Ben Haim.
Bolton boss Sam Allardyce has told Sky Sports News that he feels talk of Chelsea's reported interest in defender Tal Ben Haim could have an inkling of truth about it.
The Israeli international has impressed everyone at The Reebok since arriving in the North West from Maccabi Tel Aviv in the summer, with a series of excellent performances having not gone unnoticed elsewhere.
Allardyce would be loath to lose one of his key performers but admits the form of the 26-year-old could well have attracted attention from the top echelons in the division.
Chelsea are well stocked in terms of central defenders but with talk of possible departures for Robert Huth and William Gallas always bubbling under the surface at Stamford Bridge, a move for Ben Haim is not out of the question.
Allardyce has confirmed that Chelsea officials have reassured their Bolton counterparts that any approach would only be through official channels, adding that he can only now wait to see if a bid materialises.
''There's normally no smoke without fire,'' Allardyce told Sky Sports News.
''I think the chairman has spoken to someone at Chelsea who says if they were interested they would contact him, but again you can't always say that's the truth these days.
''In the end we will only find out by fact but that at this moment in time, there's been no contact from Chelsea football club to our football club regarding Tel Ben Haim and the sale of his registration to their club.
''At the moment it lies as pure speculation but then of course when Pini Zahavi gets mentioned in terms of the equation, you know how good a representative and how good an agent the man is, so there has to be perhaps something in it, like I said.
''At this moment we're only naive to the fact that it's only paper talk. The problem is if in January we already have five players leaving for the African Nations Cup, Tal going makes six and you can't replace him. It's that simple.
''The club can't really look at any offer for Tal Ben Haim in January.''
Allardyce accepts that January is sure to throw up several stories regarding his players, with goalkeeper Jussi Jaaskelainen having been linked with Arsenal.
However, Allardyce is keen to again play down talk of a possible departure for his goalkeeper, who has emerged as one of The Premiership's most consistent performers.
''It's usual December and January nonsense from agents again and the press,'' he concluded.
''The months have elapsed when they have to find some sort of scandal to keep them going in terms of what is happening in the world of football.''