Israeli international Shechter arrived at the Liberty in August 2012 on a season long loan deal from German Bundesliga outfit Kaiserslautern.
The 25-year-old had earned a reputation with Israeli Premier League team Hapoel Tel Aviv as a prolific goalscorer having scored 26 goals in 45 appearances and his eye for goal meant that he signed a 4 year deal for Kaiserslautern in July 2011 for €2.5 million.
However after just 23 appearances and 3 goals in his first season in the Bundesliga – and with Kaiserslautern relegated – Shechter wanted to find a new challenge (or did the German club want to get rid of him?!) and he found himself on Michael Laudrup’s wanted list.
Having witnessed Shechter play, I can’t imagine for one minute why Laudrup wanted him!
It was also alleged that Shechter could “play anywhere up front or in behind the central striker”.
After some work permit related wrangling, Shechter became the first Israeli (to my knowledge) to ever wear a Swans first team shirt when he made his debut in the 3-3 draw against German Bundesliga side Stuttgart in a pre-season friendly at the Liberty.
However, he had to wait for his first competitive appearance for the Swans and Premier League debut (as a 79th minute substitute for Leon Britton) until 15 September 2012 against Aston Villa – a game which we lost 2 nil and meant we surrendered out unbeaten start to the season.
Those of you who had the misfortune to witness Shechter in action will no doubt agree with me when I say that he hardly set the world alight during his stay in south Wales.
The one highlight of his disastrous loan spell – if scoring a solitary goal can be called a highlight – was Shechter scoring his first Premier League goal in the 3–2 win over Roberto Martínez’s Wigan on 7th May 2013. This was his first goal in an incredible 856 minutes of football for club and country.
Such was the shock that he’d finally hit the onion sack that t-shirts were made stating – “I was there when Shechter scored”!
The momentus occasion was also celebrated in bizarre style by the Swans Official twitter account:
Itay Shechter gets his first goal for Swansea as his shit flys past Joel Robles and into the far corner. Good response from the visitors.
— Swansea City FC (@SwansOfficial) May 7, 2013
Shit does indeed happen then 🙂
Unfortunately for Shechter (but fortunately for the Swans), this wasn’t the start of a prolific scoring streak from the Israeli and he finished the season having scored just once in his 18 appearances (7 starts).
After the 2012/13 season had finished, statistics from ‘The Guardian’ revealed that before his goal at Wigan, 26-year-old Shechter had gone more than 18 months without scoring at club level. Further stats revealed that he managed only four shots in his 621 minutes on the pitch, which translated as an attempt only every 155.3 minutes!
It therefore came as a surprise to no-one that at the end of the season he left the Swans and headed back to Germany before being snapped up once again by his former club – Hapoel Tel Aviv – on what was described as a “lucrative” five-year deal.
Since then he has been to FC Nantes (France) in Ligue 1 on loan and is now plying his trade at Maccabi Haifa in the Israeli Premier League. Enough said.
So with Shechter named in the Israeli squad for this weekend’s Euro 2016 Qualifier in the Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, there is a strong chance of him lining up against a few former team mates at the Swans.
Whether he does or not, I just hope that his lack of prowess in front of goal continues at least until the Wales game is done and dusted!