Stop me if you've heard this one before: Fiorentina are linked to a young fullback in a foreign league. The difference this time is that, according to TMW, there's actually been a transaction made.
If he does join Fiorentina, it will be in the winter, though. The scuttlebutt is that la Viola have reached an agreement with both club and player, but Maccabi Haifa wanted the player back on loan until December. Further complicating matters is that Tawatha (who, if he does come, will be the first player of Bedouin descent in Serie A history) is also somehow linked to Belgian side Mouscron.
While I'm having trouble gathering any statistical data on the player, we're extremely lucky to have a man on the ground who knows way more about the player (and also about other stuff) than I do, so I'll let him take it from here. I give you our very own Barry-Viola.
His name is Taleb Ta-wat-ha. It's weird to write it like that since the "th" makes it sound different. In Hebrew: טאלב טוואטחה. In Arabic: طالب طواطحه. Israeli media claims the agreement is final. Tawatha will sign officially this week for five years (others says four) and will receive 400,000 Euro per season. Due to the last-moment capture by Viola and the lack of a replacement for him in Haifa at the verge of the season opening, he will be loaned out to Maccabi Haifa until January. Then, by reports, he could be on his way to Fiorentina but if you ask me it's unlikely and he will make his way to Mouscron in Belgium on loan to gain more intensive training and playing time.
Tawatha is 23 years old, born and raised in Israel as an Israeli-Bedouin. He is 5.77 feet tall. He's fast and offensive at left back wing but slim and weak on the defensive side. It's known Tawatha really wanted to progress professionally and maintained (along with his agent Viki Keinan) a lot of pressure on the club to release him. At first Maccabi Haifa's owner, Ya'akov Shahar, didn't want to release the player and to get stuck without a full back in the last second. Plus, Tawatha is one of the best players in Haifa and is highly rated by the club and fans.
Tawatha grew up in Maccabi Haifa's youth department until he made his first appearance at the 21st of Nov 2009. In the 2010/2011 season, he made his breakthrough and earned a first team role for part of the season, scoring 1 goal and providing 3 assists. He was selected for the "team of the season's 11" and was chosen as the "discovery of the season." In 2011/2012, he was injured the majority of the season. In 2012/2013, Haifa finished 2nd and Tawatha was chosen once again for the "team of the season." In 2013/2014, he was the victim of racism from the fans (plus the team didn't play well these days) and Ya'akov Shahar, the owner, showed support to Tawatha having signed him up for five years in return to those fans.
Since 2011, Tawatha has been called up regularly to the Israeli squad. He's a substitute for Rami Gershon, who is slower but taller and stronger and plays in Belgium. His agent, Viki Keinan, is connected to Israeli top agents Pini Zahavi who are also the owner of Belgium team Mouscron. His club Maccabi Haifa is one of the top clubs in Israel, although in the past four years it's been Maccabi Tel Aviv who have taken the lead. Tawatha is currently earning 300,000 euros per season.
Thanks, Barry-Viola, for the insight. Here's hoping it all works out, and Tawatha becomes a trailblazer in Serie A and a long-term solution at fullback.