x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Al Shabab go with Brazilians after ditching Michael Owen transfer bid

Pro League side decides against signing former Manchester United striker and moves for Brazilian strike pair instead.

Al Shabab have turned their back on a move for former England striker Michael Owen
Al Shabab have turned their back on a move for former England striker Michael Owen

DUBAI // Al Shabab have decided against signing Michael Owen, preferring two Brazilians to the star appeal and marketability of the former England striker.

Shabab had held talks with Owen’s representative last month about a possible move, following the player's release by Manchester United, but they have now opted for strikers Edgar Bruno da Silva and Luiz Henrique da Silva Alves.

Edgar, a former Brazil Under 20 international, has signed a one-year deal while Henrique, who has played his football in South Korea for the last four years, is expected to arrive in the coming days to complete the formalities on his contract.

“We have made the decision based on our technical requirements and our financial situation,” Saeed Al Marri, the executive director of the club, said. “We have learnt our lessons from last season where we had a few injuries and then were under huge pressure.

“We hope to have a strong pool of 25 players, substitutes who can hit the ground running. This is an important issue and that’s why we have started signing a number of players early. With a limited roster we weren’t able to do well [last season].

“Our main concern [for next season] is the AFC Champions League because it starts roughly at the end of the season for us. By that time we will have worked very hard and because of that we are expanding our player pool.”

Edgar has spent the last two seasons at Portuguese club Vitoria de Guimaraes, scoring 21 goals in 58 games. He helped the team qualify for the Europa League in 2011 and netted five goals in seven games as Vitoria reached the Portuguese Cup final in the same season.

The two newcomers will replace Kieza and Carlos Villanueva in a side which finished third in the Pro League last season. Shabab have retained the Brazilian Ciel and Uzbek Azizbek Haydarov will continue as their Asian player.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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