x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Abdullah Al Naboodah ready to look beyond Jaja

The Al Ahli midfielder left for native Brazil without seeking permission from the Dubai club, and his return to the UAE is unlikely.

DUBAI // Al Ahli will be shopping for Jaja's replacement in the January transfer window after ruling out the chance of the Brazilian playmaker returning to the UAE.

Jaja flew home after Ahli's 4-0 President's Cup loss to Al Wasl on Sunday night without club permission. He sent a text message to one of the club's administration staff from the airport, saying he was going to Brazil to attend to personal matters.

Abdullah Al Naboodah, chairman of Al Ahli's board, has said Jaja will not wear the club's colours again and will face financial penalties before he is put on sale.

Reports have suggested that Ahli could be in talks with Jorge Valdivia, the former Al Ain player, but Al Naboodah has denied on the club's website any negotiations with the Chilean playmaker.

However, he did suggest that the club will be looking at not just a replacement for Jaja, but one or two more of his foreign recruits as well as Emirati players once the January transfer window opens on January 1. "We will be looking at making some changes to the squad during the winter transfer window, in co-ordination and consultation with the coach [Quique Sanchez Flores]," he said.

"We cannot allow this decline to continue as we want to meet the aspirations of our fans."

The club will evaluate the performances of their foreign players before making a decision, and given their performances thus far, the Brazilian striker Grafite and the Chilean playmaker Luis Jimenez should keep their places in the squad.

Yousuf Mohammed's place in the team could be in doubt; the Lebanese defender has played only five games this season because of recurring injuries.

Among Emirati players, Al Nasr's Ali Abbas is reportedly keen on returning to Ahli and the club are also interested in bringing in Al Wahda's Basheer Saeed to bolster their defence.

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE