x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Al Ain still searching still on for Asian signing

The Pro League champions were hoping to conclude a deal this week for their final foreign player, but have yet to broker an agreement with any targets.

AL AIN - 16MAR2012 - Al Ainís Yasser al Qahtani, white, and Al Al Ahliís Fares Juma fight for the ball in the Etisalat Pro-League match yesterday at Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium in Al Ain. Ravindranath K / The National
AL AIN - 16MAR2012 - Al Ainís Yasser al Qahtani, white, and Al Al Ahliís Fares Juma fight for the ball in the Etisalat Pro-League match yesterday at Tahnoun bin Mohammed Stadium in Al Ain. Ravindranath K / The National

Al Ain will not be able to call on a new Asian signing for Monday's Super Cup match against Al Jazira, after the club confirmed this summer's recruitment process has not gone as expected.

The Pro League champions were hoping to conclude a deal this week for their final foreign player, but have yet to broker an agreement with any targets.

Al Ain retain a strong interest in Alex Brosque, the Australian midfielder at the J-League side Shimizu S-Pulse in Japan who represents one of three names on their shortlist.

Yasser Al Qahtani's departure has created space in the squad for an Asian player, while Al Ain's other three overseas stars comprise Asamoah Gyan, Mirel Radoi and Jires Kembo-Ekoko.

Kembo-Ekoko is the only summer signing - he joined two weeks ago from Ligue 1 side Rennes - after Al Ain missed out on their principal targets Michel Bastos and Park Chu-young. The striker will fill the spot in attack vacated by Al Qahtani, although the club now need to replace Ignacio Scocco, the Argentine midfielder who left at the end of last season.

The uncertainty surrounding the future of Omar Abdulrahman also delayed any decisions regarding who Cosmin Olaroiu, the coach, would bring in.

"Cosmin asked for players in specific positions and the management did their best to get excellent players who could add value, but sometimes the rewards don't equal the efforts made," said Mohammed Obaid Hammad, the team supervisor.

"However, our local players showed a high level of performance last season when foreign players were absent for different reasons, such as injuries and nation team duty.

"We hope in the coming few days to succeed in getting the Asian player and complete our foreign quota. The Super Cup is so close that it would be hard to include the Asian player in the coach's plans because any footballer needs time to settle."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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