Al Shabab show faith in out-of-sorts Jo as former Manchester City striker signs three-year deal
DUBAI // Al Shabab are close to capturing the signature of Jo, the former Manchester City and Brazil striker, from Atletico Mineiro.
The Dubai club, who finished third in last season’s Arabian Gulf League, announced Wednesday on their official Twitter account that they have agreed the transfer in principle, securing the forward on a three-year deal. It is understood Jo will arrive in the UAE this week to undergo a medical and finalise the move.
Shabab are in the market for one more foreign player to complete the allocated quartet, following their decision not to renew Edgar Bruno’s contract. The Brazilian striker’s three-year stay at the Maktoum bin Rashid Stadium has come to an end, leaving Azizbek Haydarov, Carlos Villanueva and Henrique Luvannor as the club’s three remaining expatriates.
Shabab have therefore turned to Jo to spearhead their quest for honours next season, with the reported three-year deal a clear indication of their faith in a striker who has recently struggled for form.
Jo, 28, has fallen out of favour at Mineiro despite initially proving a success. In 2013 — his second year there — he helped fire the Belo Horizonte club to their first Copa Libertadores crown, scoring in the second leg of the final against Paraguay’s Olimpia to finish the competition’s top scorer. His final tally stood at seven goals.
However, disputes regarding payment of salary and issues with ill-discipline soon impacted Jo’s performances and his game-time was subsequently restricted. So far this year, he has made nine appearances — seven from the bench — scoring a solitary goal.
Yet Shabab will hope they can reignite a career that once promised much, especially following his first transfer in 2005 from Corinthians in Sao Paulo to Russia’s CSKA Moscow.
A prolific period that produced 44 goals in 77 matches prompted a move to Manchester City three years later for a fee originally believed to be around £18 million (Dh103m).
Jo struggled in the Premier League, though, spending a significant portion of his time on loan at Everton and then Turkey’s Galatasaray. In all, he scored six goals in 41 appearances for City. He returned to Brazil in 2011 with Internacional, before signing a year later for Mineiro.
Jo has been capped by Brazil 24 times since making his international debut in 2007. He was included in their 2014 World Cup squad, coming on as a substitute in the group match against Mexico and the last-16 encounter with Chile. He played the entire third-place play-off against the Netherlands.
Jo was considering a switch the UAE during the winter transfer window, when his relationship with Mineiro had soured substantially. It is understood that a selection of clubs were discouraged by the price tag, believed to have been around $1.5 million (Dh5.5m). It remains unclear if Shabab have agreed to pay that amount to Mineiro.
Meanwhile, the man he could replace is poised to continue his career in either China or Japan. Bruno, also 28, reportedly has offers from both countries. Despite struggling last season, his record at Shabab still read a relatively impressive 37 goals in 70 league matches.
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Updated: July 1, 2015 04:00 AM