x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

After frustrating time in transfer market club set to secure services of Juventus striker.

Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic, from Montenegro, has scored 21 goals for the Serie A side. His agent is now said to be in the UAE to negotiate a deal with Al Jazira Massimo Pinca / AP Photo
Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic, from Montenegro, has scored 21 goals for the Serie A side. His agent is now said to be in the UAE to negotiate a deal with Al Jazira Massimo Pinca / AP Photo

After several failed bids to sign new players, Al Jazira are edging closer to a deal with the Juventus forward Mirko Vucinic.

According to the Turin-based newspaper Tuttosport, an “agreement is near” for the Abu Dhabi club to sign the Montenegro forward after 10 days of negotiations with the player’s agent Alessandro Lucci.

Lucci is said to have arrived in the UAE to finalise the deal, set to be a three-year contract for €6 million (Dh30.2m).

Jazira officials could not be reached last night for comment.

Vucinic, 30, won three Serie A titles at Juventus. He joined them in 2011 on a four-year deal from Roma and played key roles in the first two seasons, scoring 21 goals in 72 appearances, including the Uefa Champions League. Last season, he scored only two goals in 16 matches.

He began his career at his hometown club Sutjeska Niksic before his move to the Italian side Lecce at the age of 16 in 2000.

He spent six years with them before crossing over to Roma.

Vucinic is prepared for a move to a new club now that he has fallen behind striking pair Carlos Tevez and Fernando Llorente at Juve.

Jazira have been on the lookout for fresh blood after failing to win any silverware last season. They are starting the new season under a new coach, the Belgian Eric Gerets.

The team had two prominent coaches in 2013/14.

They started with the Spaniard Luis Milla and ended the season under Walter Zenga, the Italian who was fired soon after the team’s campaign ended with defeat to Al Ain in the Asian Champions League round of 16.

With Gerets at the helm, Jazira are trying to strengthen the squad to end their trophy drought. Vucinic has emerged as the front-runner to replace their Ecuadorean striker Felipe Caicedo, after their earlier bid to sign Moussa Sow, the France-born Senegalese striker from Turkish club Fenerbahce, fell through.

They also failed in their bids to sign Emirati internationals Ismail Al Hammadi of Al Ahli, Habib Fardan (Al Nasr) and Mohanad Salem (Al Ain).

Jazira also need to fill the vacant “Asian player” position, having decided not to renew the contract of Shin Hyung-min, the Korean defender. Jazira retained only Abdelaziz Barrada, the Moroccan international, from their summer signings in 2013.

They signed Caicedo and Jucilei da Silva, both from Anzhi Makhachkala, in the midseason transfer window.

Caicedo played for Ecuador in the World Cup, starting the first two games but failing to score. He had failed to impress in his short time with Jazira.

Meanwhile, Al Jazira will gather for their first training under new coach Eric Gerets at the Mohammed bin Zayed stadium on Saturday. The training programme will start with medical tests and fitness assessments of the players returning from holidays. The first part of the preparations will be confined to fitness and conditioning, which will be during the fasting month of Ramadan, meaning the training will take place late in the night. The team will travel to Switzerland for a camp from August 3 to 24. While there, Jazira will play three friendlies against local teams. The Arabian Gulf League season begins on September 15.

apassela@thenational.ae

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