Al Ain add their third summer signing in Miroslav Stoch
AL AIN // Al Ain are confident Miroslav Stoch will play a key role in their 2014/15 Arabian Gulf League title bid after bringing the Slovakian international in on a one-year loan deal.
Al Ain on Saturday completed the deal for Stoch, who has signed from the Turkish Super Lig side Fenerbahce. He is Al Ain’s third summer arrival after the Korean Lee Myong-joo – who was signed for US$5 million (Dh18.3m) from Pohang Steelers – and Rashid Essa, the Al Wasl midfielder who is also on a one-year loan deal.
Stoch, 24, completed the medical yesterday morning and joined his new team in the evening before heading to Italy for the two-week camp.
The training camp was originally scheduled to be in Turkey but was shifted because of wet weather.
“Many clubs wanted him [Stoch] after the news of our negotiation with Fenerbahce reached the ears of other parties, but we managed to complete the deal without leaving room for any interference,” said Mohammed Obaid Hammad, the Al Ain team supervisor.
“The club management is confident Miroslav will fit in well in our line-up and play a key role for us in the coming season. He is young, very talented and has lots of experience behind him.”
Stoch joins the AGL club after completing another one-year loan spell at the Greek club PAOK last season. He joined Fenerbahce on a four-year deal in 2010.
The Slovakian winger began his career at local club academy Nitra in 2005, where he was included in the first team after scoring a hat-trick in an Under-17 match when he was 15.
He moved to the youth academy of English Premier League side Chelsea in 2008 but only made five first-team appearances.
He was loaned to FC Twente in July 2009 before his move to Fenerbahce for the 2010/2011 season. Stoch also has 42 international caps for Slovakia.
Al Ain have recalled Jires Kembo-Ekoko, the Congolese-born French forward, after he served a one-year loan spell at the Qatari club El Jaish.
Asamoah Gyan, the Ghana captain, is the only foreign player retained by Al Ain after their disappointing sixth-placed finish in the league last season.
The club did not renew the contracts of the Moroccan international Yassine El Ghanassy, Mirel Radoi, the Romanian midfielder, and their Asian player, Alex Brosque from Australia.
They still also own Brazilian winger Michel Bastos, who spent the second half of last season on loan at Roma in Italy.
Al Ain have handed contract extensions to the Abdulrahman brothers, Mohammed and Khalid, in the form of three-year deals until 2017.
The President’s Cup winners are preparing for the Asian Champions League quarter-finals against Saudi Arabia powerhouse Al Ittihad, who they meet over two legs on August 19 and the away game a week later.
Al Ain will return from Italy and play in a three-team friendly tournament against Al Nasr of Saudi Arabia and Al Kuwait of Kuwait in the last week of the Ramadan.
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