x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Al Ain remain confident on acquiring their transfer targets

Pro League champions confident of strengthening ahead of the new season.

Michel Bastos, left, is a target for Al Ain.
Michel Bastos, left, is a target for Al Ain.

The chairman of Al Ain Club's board of directors has promised fans the club are working on signing players that will add "real value" to the squad.

The Pro League champions are in the market for two overseas players following the departure last season of the Saudi Arabia striker Yasser Al Qahtani and Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine midfielder.

Negotiations with the French side Lyon to sign Michel Bastos, the left-sided Brazil international, for a fee rising to €9 million (Dh40m) are thought to be at an advanced stage while discussions have also taken place with the English Premier League club Arsenal regarding the transfer of Park Chu-young, the South Korean forward.

Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed, who met with the Al Ain staff and players during training on Sunday night to wish them well for the Holy Month of Ramadan, refused to confirm targets, said: "We follow a strategy that is related to the [head coach Cosmin Olaroiu's] reports, with whom we discussed the needs of the team and the type of players needed for next season."

"I want to assure those who love the club that the players we are aiming to attract can represent real value for the team in the coming regional, local and continental tournaments."

When pressed on specific names, Sheikh Abdullah said: "I think this is called speculation and, as I said, all deals will be revealed as we finalise them. Our fans trust the management to sign good players who will enable Al Ain to hit its targets in the coming season."

Al Ain have embarked on the second stage of their pre-season schedule having last week returned from a nine-day training camp in Austria. They will take part in a Ramadan tournament early next month before leaving for another camp abroad, with Romania touted as a possible destination.

Elsewhere, Emirates have signed Nestor Ortigoza, the Paraguayan international, to complete their quota of four foreign players, and have also acquired Haider Ali, the Al Wahda captain, as they prepare to try to win a spot in the Pro League play-offs.

Emirates are competing against Al Shaab, Sharjah and Al Dhafra in the four-team tournament in September.

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