Big Sam suspects Ben Haim move
By Tom Adams
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Sam Allardyce suspects Tal Ben Haim has had new interest from Chelsea.
Sam Allardyce has warned Chelsea they will have to pay big money for Tal Ben Haim if they want the centre-back, with the Bolton boss fearing that The Blues have reignited their interest in recent days.
Allardyce stated earlier in the week that Ben Haim would not be leaving The Reebok Stadium before the end of the month, but his suspicions have now been aroused after the Israeli international pulled out of the 1-1 FA Cup draw with Arsenal on Sunday.
A calf strain ostensibly kept Ben Haim out of the firing line at Emirates Stadium, but Allardyce admits he is concerned that the defender had other motives for missing the tie.
"Tal failed a fitness test this morning having picked up an injury," said Allardyce.
"Tal determined he would not play. We were disappointed but if a player says he is not fit to play, he is not fit to play.
"My chairman is in Australia and I only spoke to him a few minutes ago and he's had no contact from anybody. I hope it's like Tal tells me and it's just a genuine injury."
Chelsea are currently struggling to make up the numbers in defence and have already had one approach for Ben Haim knocked back by The Trotters.
Bolton are prepared to let the stopper's contract expire in the summer and lose him for nothing, and Allardyce has warned The Blues that at this late stage in the month, only a huge bid will coerce his club into a sale.
"If there is a big bid coming, it will have to be really big," Allardyce added.
"It will cost them much more now than it would have done three weeks ago because there are only two days for me to get a replacement.
"I haven't been able to afford to buy a replacement before he goes out, which I think we should have done.
"It would take big push for us to allow him to leave, if what everybody has been speculating about is the truth.
"Whatever happens in the next two days it would be incredibly difficult for our football club to say yes, no matter how much money comes our way."