Israeli soccer star Manor Solomon will join Tottenham Hotspurs, a leading English Premier League soccer team, for the upcoming season, media reports said Sunday.
Solomon has been the only Israeli playing in the Premier League since he signed for Fulham last year. The move to Tottenham, traditionally considered one of the league’s big six teams, is a step up.
Solomon will sign a five-year contract with the London team in a deal negotiated by super-agent and fellow Israeli Pini Zahavi, according to leading soccer journalist, Fabrizio Romano.
Solomon, a 23-year-old midfielder, made waves after moving to the newly promoted Fulham last year, when he scored in five straight games from February 11 through March 6, becoming the first Israeli to beat the record of Liverpool’s Ronny Rosenthal, who scored in three straight games in 1992.
His success story came after a harrowing year. After playing for the Israeli team Maccabi Petah Tikva, Solomon joined the Ukrainian soccer club Shakhtar Donetsk in 2019. When he scored his first UEFA Champions League goal that season, he became the youngest Israeli to score in the Champions League — the highest level of club competition in Europe — at 20 years old.
After Russian tanks rolled into Ukraine in February 2022, he “woke up to the sound of explosions and sirens,” as he recounted to BBC Sport. “It was like being in the middle of a movie.”
EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham have reached verbal agreement with Manor Solomon, here we go! ????⚪️ #THFC
Deal in place as medical tests have been scheduled for next week.
Solomon agreed personal terms.
He’s joining Spurs as free agent — if all goes to plan with Shakhtar and FIFA rules. pic.twitter.com/VMfbmEvAa1
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) July 2, 2023
He quickly made arrangements to leave Ukraine, making the 17-hour journey to the Polish border — where he had to wait for more than 10 hours in the freezing cold before making it home to Israel.
He joined Fulham FC last July on a temporary one-year deal, thanks to a FIFA rule allowing non-Ukrainian players in Ukraine to suspend their contracts. His Sephardic heritage allowed him to obtain a Portuguese passport, which helped facilitate his travel throughout the European Union.
Romano said his deal with Tottenham is subject to approval from Shakhtar Donetsk and FIFA, the world soccer governing body.
It is also subject to him passing a standard medical test that is scheduled for next week, Roman said.
Tottenham, who are recovering from a poor season where they finished in eighth place, will be a sympathetic home for the Israeli star with their traditional Jewish following.
Despite their ties, Tottenham last year said it no longer wants to be associated with a term for Jews that is considered offensive and has asked its fans to stop using it.
Supporters of Tottenham, a north London club that has traditionally drawn a large fan base from Jewish communities, have long described themselves as the “Yid Army.” Though of Yiddish origin as an ethnonym for Jewish people, the “Y-word” carries a “distinctly pejorative and antisemitic message,” according to the World Jewish Congress.
Following a review of the usage among some fans, Tottenham called on supporters to “move on” from it.
It marked an about-turn for the premier league team, which in 2019 had defended the use of the term “Yid Army,” saying at the time that its fans “have never used the term with any offense” and that “a reassessment of its use can only occur effectively within the context of a total clampdown on unacceptable antisemitism.”
Agencies contributed to this report.