Israel is not known for producing many icons of international football, apart from Yossi Benayoun of course.
However, one player who could reverse this trend in the years to come is Shakhtar Donetsk winger Manor Solomon.
Kicking off his playing career at Maccabi Petah Tikva, the 21-year-old has impressed since arriving in Ukraine in 2019. Today he is catching the attention of some of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Arsenal.
What do we hear you asking? Well, here’s everything you need to know about Solomon.
As is compulsory for all Israeli citizens – whether they are footballers or not – Salomon completed a period in the military at the age of 18.
During this time, he balanced his service in uniform by drawing attention to MPT.
It was not only his time in the military that developed a strong sense of discipline in the youth. His father is also a fitness trainer and urged him at a young age to keep himself in top condition.
Solomon’s has spent most of his career operating as a right forward.
More recently, he has changed sides. Playing on the left suits him well, as he can combine his strong dribbling skills with a deadly right foot to terrorize right-backs.
Standing just 170cm tall, the delicate wideman uses his low center of gravity to escape opposition with and without the ball.
Solomon also has some experience as a number ten. His versatility will be a major asset for any side that ends up signing him.
Solomon has been a hot property for most of his career.
When he began his military service in 2017, Manchester City were close to signing him, as he explained to the Guardian last year.
“They really wanted me and I had a meeting with them but unfortunately it didn’t work out. I played against them with Shakhtar and it was a very good point for us but in the end it didn’t help us to qualify. It was also very special to play against Manchester City and Pep Guardiola and to score, ”he said.
The Citizens aren’t the only Premier League side to have courted him in the past. Arsenal, Liverpool as well as Juventus have also been linked with Solomon in recent years.
Despite his young age, Solomon has already carved out a place for himself at the international level.
The biggest game of his career in Israel so far came in October, when his side faced Scotland in the semi-finals of the Euro 2020 qualifying playoffs. Solomon played the full 120 minutes and with The level of scores after extra time, the game went to penalties, with Scotland winning the shootout 5-3.
He managed to get revenge weeks later when he scored the only goal in Israel’s 1-0 victory over the Scots in the Nations League.
Solomon loves to play in the Champions League.
His love affair with competition began in October 2019 when he landed a 95th dramatic winner to help Shakhtar see Atalanta. The following month he saved his side from a 1-1 draw against Manchester City with a good equalizer.
His European exploits have continued this season as well. Salomon has scored in Shakhtar’s two wins over Real Madrid, showing his appetite for the big occasion remains insatiable.
Solomon’s ability to carry the ball is strong, but there have been doubts about his final product.
By his own admission, this is an area he needs to improve to do it at the highest level.
Asked about his progress at Shakhtar so far, he told the Podium podcast (via Tekdeeps): “I think I’ve improved a lot. In all aspects. I think I have improved in everything and I always want to improve and I keep improving.
“I’m only 21 and I want to be better than I am today. I think I improved the most in my understanding of the game – when to release the ball, when not to release the ball, when to dribble, when not to dribble. “