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Transfer talk: Baniyas back in hunt after Mauro Formica deal fails

Abu Dhabi club will revert back to shortlist of playmakers to fill fourth expatriate spot after Formica showed signs of an old injury during medical tests, writes John McAuley.

Baniyas have had to recalibrate their search for a fourth expatriate after they decided not to conclude a deal for Mauro Formica, the Argentine attacking midfielder.

The Abu Dhabi club had expected to complete the transfer this week, with the Blackburn Rovers forward having agreed personal terms on a three-year contract.

However, the results of a medical conducted last Sunday highlighted an old injury that Baniyas feared could again become problematic, which was enough to convince them to retract their offer.

Baniyas had originally identified three possible playmakers to fill their final foreign spot for next season's Arabian Gulf League and it appears they will simply revert to that shortlist.

Carlos Munoz, the Chilean plying his trade in his homeland with Colo-Colo, remains an option, however his club have reportedly increased their asking price from US$4 million (Dh14.7m) to $5m. The player is quoted in the Chilean press as saying he is "shocked" by the sudden brinkmanship.

Baniyas, though, are confident they will make announcement by the end of the week.

"The technical committee has many options on the table, and it always leaves alternative options open," said Musallam Suhail Al Katheeri, a Baniyas board member. "So the club will be working hard over the coming days to choose the fourth foreign player."

Baniyas have already added Abdulsalam Al Mukhaini, the Oman international defender, who replaces Nick Carle as the club's Asian player. Andre Senghor and Christian Wilhelmsson are their other two listed expatriates for next season.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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