Marlon to sign with Israeli club
Some odd timing here
After a couple of weeks of speculation, it now appears to be a done deal – Legion winger Marlon Santos is now with Israeli club Hapoel Ironi Kiryat Shmona (IKS), at least physically. The IKS Instragram account has posted pictures of him being welcomed to the city of Kiryat Shmona (in the extreme north of Israel).
Marlon had posted some slightly cryptic thank you tweets to the Legion and its fans over the past week or so, suggesting that he was on his way out. This had come as something of a surprise, as the Legion on December 8th included him in a list of players whose options had been exercised. And that’s where the timing gets weird. The website time.news (which I have never heard of before) reported the IKS deal for Marlon on December 7th. That does not mean of course that the Legion hadn’t exercised the option on Marlon well before that date, but to make the announcement when a deal elsewhere was apparently already in the works seems strange. Does this mean the Legion is getting some compensation for Marlon? At this point we don’t know. For what it’s worth (not much, usually) transfermarkt values him at €250, 000 ($266,000).
That report suggests that the IKS contract is pending medical tests, but that is standard and likely to be no problem – despite Marlon being the second most fouled player in the Championship this season. My guess is the Legion will make a formal announcement once the contract is actually signed, which will likely be in the next day or two.
IKS plays in the Israeli Premier League (known as Ligat ONE ZERO for sponsorship reasons). They have had some success in the past but are currently sitting in last place (14th) after exactly half the regular season. The bottom two finishers in the league are relegated, but there is an unusual playoff format: all 14 teams compete in two playoffs, the top 6 for the championship and the bottom eight for the relegation spots. So the team has plenty of time and opportunity to avoid relegation.
Teams in the league are also limited to 6 international roster spots; currently IKS has an Ivorian, a Lithuanian and a Maltese on the squad, so Marlon will be a major addition to a team that apparently needs some offense. They did have a Brazilian on the team for about 5 months earlier this year, but he’s now long gone.
With all that, we are of course sad to see Marlon leave, but wish him all the best in his new career venture.