DUBAI // Pavel Nedved, a former European footballer of the year and a player who once cost Juventus 41million (Dh215m), could grace the Pro League next season after holding talks with the champions Al Ahli. The Czech midfielder retired in the summer, but has been offered a lucrative contract to play for Ahli. They can add one more non-Emirati to their squad under league restrictions. Brazilian striker Bare, their top-scorer last season, Egyptian Hosny Abd Rabo and Iranian winger Mehrzad Madanchi are the other three non-Emiratis.
Nedved, 36, was in the country over the weekend and attended Thursday night's draw for the opening fixtures of the new season. He visited Ahli's facilities in Dubai and has a close relationship with their former coach Ivan Hasek, who is now president and coach of the Czech Football Association. "I went to see Ahli because Ivan was there. I wanted to see where he worked," said Nedved. "I enjoyed it a lot and was really impressed by the quality of infrastructure at the club. Hasek is a very good friend and I was very interested in knowing how he was doing."
Hasek guided Ahli to the Pro League title last season, a feat that landed them a place in December's Fifa Club World Cup. This could be a factor in tempting Nedved out of retirement. He has reportedly also been targeted by the English League Two side Notts County, recently taken over by a Qatar-based consortium, but they could not offer the same level of football. Abdulmajeed Hussain, Ahli's first-team supervisor, hinted at a deal yesterday while Ioan Andone, Ahli's Romanian coach, went one step further by declaring in the Italian media that the move was well advanced.
"I wanted to bring to Adrian Cristea [of Dinamo Bucharest], but the club told me they have a surprise for me," he said. "Eventually he told me his plans, that the negotiations with Nedved were at an advanced stage. That Nedved was very interested because the offer was really good." Nedved is not the only high-profile player being targeted by a Pro League side. Al Ain are continuing their pursuit of the forward Marcio Emerson after their initial US$8.5m (Dh31.2m) bid was turned by Brazilian club Flamengo.
Emerson, 30, is a naturalised Qatari citizen. The striker joined Flamengo earlier this year as a free agent after leaving Qatari club Al Sadd. "I believe we will be able to finalise the deal in the next few days," said Majid al Owais, the Al Ain team manager. "I don't care how much they are asking for him. I just want him to score every time he is in front of the goal. That's all I care about." email@example.com