AL AIN // Lyon's Michel Bastos has rejected offers from some of Europe's most established clubs and will join Al Ain in the next few days, the player's representative has confirmed.
The Brazil international, who can operate at left-back or as a winger, decided three weeks ago to accept a move to the Pro League champions, yet the switch was delayed as the clubs disputed the transfer fee.
It had been reported Lyon were holding out for €10 million (Dh45.8m) and that Al Ain were prepared to offer only €6m, rising to €9m. However, the fee has now been agreed, verbally at least, at between €7.5m and €8m.
The deal will be concluded once Al Ain submit a written proposal to the seven-time French champions, which is expected today at the latest, leaving Bastos to sign a three-year contract with an option for another year.
The 29 year old was also approached by Napoli, Spartak Moscow and Olympiakos, yet remains intent on moving to the UAE having spoken with compatriots Grafite, the Al Ahli striker, and Emerson, the Corinthians frontman who spent a season at Al Ain from 2009.
"Out of the four choices Al Ain is his first," Emmanuel de Kerchove, the player's agent, told The National.
"Michel's going there to stay. I know a lot of Brazilian players come for six months or one year and want to go back, but in Michel's mind he's there to stay, to win the Asian Champions League and make some history with the club.
"He has a big motivation to do that. However, the powers at the club have taken a lot of time to find a solution.
"For the player it's not good to wait like this. It's an important season for Michel and he has said he wants to go there."
De Kerchove revealed initial discussions between the three parties took place more than a month ago, but said his client understood negotiations would be protracted because of the significant transfer fee involved and the time of year.
"The only problem has been between the clubs," said De Kerchove.
"They had a lot of discussions the week before Ramadan, with offers made, but we knew the situation would slow during Ramadan as it is obviously a very important moment in the Emirates.
"So everybody waited for Ramadan to finish to work on it again."
The signing of Bastos represents a major coup for Al Ain and provides the Garden City club with arguably the two most attractive names in UAE football. Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana international, earlier this summer sealed a permanent transfer from English Premier League side Sunderland, and Bastos is keen to link up with last season's Pro League top scorer.
The Brazilian has never been to the UAE, but has watched games on television and feels he would be a success here.
"He is excited because the standard of the league is good, with an emphasis on offensive football, a more open style, much like in Brazil," De Kerchove said.
"There is more space and teams set up to attack, which suits Michel's play. With the attributes he has, he'd be very happy. I'm sure he would bring a lot to the team.
"And he wants to live somewhere totally different than before and to learn another culture. Michel has been told it's a very nice club, a good city with a good quality of life and now wants to discover a new championship and a new environment."
Another reason for Bastos moving to the UAE is that he, his wife and five-year-old son were victims of an armed robbery at his home in Lyon only three months ago.
Police never arrested anyone for the crime, but the episode convinced Bastos his time in France was at an end. He admitted at the weekend he needed his future resolved for personal reasons and believes the UAE provides a safe environment for his family, especially as his wife is pregnant with twins.
"It was traumatic for him and when it finished he called me direct to say he wanted to leave and find something else," De Kerchove said.
"Growing up in Brazil you have a lot of problems with security and Michel moved to Europe to leave this behind.
"The problem was everyone knew he was a footballer, everybody knew he earned a lot of money.
"Of course, there are dangerous parts all over the world, but he knows the Emirates has a reputation for being safe and everybody talks positively about it."
The conclusion of the transfer could still hinge on the future of Omar Abdulrahman, though.
The Al Ain midfielder had a trial last week at Manchester City following his impressive role for the UAE Olympic team, with the English champions weighing up whether to extend his stay or make the move permanent.
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