x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Angry Ain ready to offload their missing Brazilian Diaz

Al Ain are ready to sell their leading scorer Andre Diaz, who is still to return to the club from a holiday in his home of Brazil.

Al Ain are ready to sell their leading scorer Andre Diaz, who is still to return to the club from a holiday in his home of Brazil. Diaz, 28, has a new contract waiting for him to sign when he eventually comes back. But the club are angry that he has not been heard from since leaving for his holiday at the end of last season and that he missed yesterday's routine medical check up ahead of the club's three-week camp in Switzerland and Spain starting next week. Indeed, it is believed that they are now prepared to move him on and replace him with Chile-based Argentine striker Lucas Barrios, 24.

The nine times league champions are also in talks with the Chile international midfielder Alexis Sanchez, 20. Diaz was the leading scorer for Ain last season with 20 goals but his antics have often angered his coach Winfried Schaefer. He was involved in a scuffle with Al Nasr players after their Pro League match in November and was handed a two-match ban. And, later in the season, he was sent off after just 10 minutes of a crucial match against Al Jazira which brought about a five-match suspension.

He also went against his manager's orders and took a penalty when the instructions were for the captain Jorge Valdivia to take it. Schaefer was prepared to forgive him and said: "Diaz did a good job for us and he will be informed that a new contract will be ready for him." However, Diaz's disappearance has now made the German think again. The Brazilian helped Al Wasl to win the league and cup double on his debut season in the UAE but when a disappointing year followed, he crossed over to Ain on a free transfer last season.

Ain are now on the look out for new players who will complement the midfield skills of Valdivia, who played an influential role for his club to win the Etisalat and President's cup, and finish third in the Pro League to earn an automatic place in next year's Asian Champions League. Valdivia is thought to be behind the club's interest in signing his Chile teammate Sanchez and also Barrios. apassela@thenational.ae