Most football pundits can agree that one arena in which Israeli football has continuously underachieved is the development of world-class players who make an impact in Europe’s top leagues. From Ben Sahar, who only made 3 appearances for Chelsea, to Dudu Aouate’s 5-year stint between the sticks for a mediocre Mallorca, no Israeli player has made it to the level of the leagues’ best players. However, that is before the introduction of Tomer Hemed to England’s top flight.
Coming from humble beginnings as a striker for Maccabi Haifa, Hemed steadily built his reputation, resulting in a transfer to Mallorca, where he scored 21 goals in 80 appearances. This translates to a goal every third match. Hemed then spent a season at Almeria, where he scored 8 goals in 35. What followed was a transfer to Brighton & Hove Albion, where his career truly started to take form.
The striker signed for Brighton on 24 June 2015, and ended his first season in the EFL Championship on 17 goals, making him the club’s top scorer in the 2015/16 campaign.
What followed in 2016/17 was an impressive display, whereby Brighton clinched 2nd place in the league and were subsequently promoted to the Premier League. Hemed bagged 11 goals in 37 appearances, and scored 2 League Cup goals in just 3 appearances as a substitute and no place in the starting 11.
This proves that Hemed is quickly becoming a force to be reckoned with, and is a player with the ability to change the tide of the match when coming off the bench.
On the international stage, Hemed has penetrated many a defence, by netting 15 goals in just 28 appearances. That is approximately a goal in every second match he plays for the Israeli National Team. This form is a reflection of his time in the Israeli Under 19 squad, where he put away 24 goals in only 22 appearances.
At age 30, Hemed is reaching his peak at what is typically a late stage in footballer’s career, but if his past form is anything to go by, both Hemed and Brighton should be in for one promising season.
Premier League giants better beware, as both Hemed and Brighton are strong contenders for flipping the league table on it’s head.