Mon, 01 Jul 2013 20:19:00 – Reims have signed Israel striker Eliran Atar from Maccabi Tel Aviv, the Ligue 1 club have announced.
The 26-year-old was the leading scorer in the Israeli top flight with 22 goals in 31 games for Maccabi last season and has now signed a four-year contract with Reims.
Club president Jean-Pierre Caillot told stade-de-reims.com: "We are delighted to sign Eliran. He is a star in his country.
"For him and his career, he felt it was important to be seen and to be able to play against the bigger clubs in our league.
"It is a new country and a new culture but there is no reason why he cannot adapt to our team and our league."
Atar scored twice in a Europa League play-off round tie against current French champions Paris St Germain three years ago and is looking forward to helping last season's 14th-placed side climb the table.
"I know a lot of the clubs, like Paris St Germain, Monaco, Lyon, Marseille, Lille etc," he said.
"Also Valenciennes and Toulouse, because there are two Israeli players (Maor Melikson and Eden Ben Basat) who play for these clubs and are in the national team with me.
"I know Reims have been French champions (six times between 1949 and 1962) and have played in European Cup finals (in 1956 and 1959), and I know they came back into Ligue 1 after 33 years away.
"I have seen last season's games on video and I hope to bring something extra to the team to help them finish higher than 14th place.
"I like playing on the left flank or as a centre-forward. I can use both feet and I think I am quite a quick and skilful player."
Sky sources are reporting that talks are underway between the two clubs over the possible transfer of the England Under-21 international.
However, Premier League new boys Cardiff are also in the running to sign Ince, having tabled a bid believed to be in the region of Â£8m for the 21-year-old.
Ince's father Paul is the manager of Blackpool and said on Sunday: "Cardiff have come in massively for Thomas and the chairman has accepted their offer
"But Thomas loves it here and has told me he's in no rush to leave the club.
"I think it's 50/50 at the moment. It's a tricky one for me. Ideally you want your son to be playing in the Premier League, but you also want him to be playing for you."