x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 January 2018

Arabian Gulf League: Adeilson landed but Al Shabab is not done shopping

With Adeilson safely aboard, the Dubai club is also looking beyond the 2013/14 season as they investigate options to recruit two promising South Americans. Club eager to focus on future after Ciel's surprise departure.

Adeilson will be replacing Ciel at Al Shabab. AFP
Adeilson will be replacing Ciel at Al Shabab. AFP

Al Shabab have completed the signing of Adeilson Pereira de Mello, typically known as "Adeilson", subject to a medical exam.

The Brazilian winger has agreed to terms with the Dubai-based Arabian Gulf League club and, should the results of his physical examination prove satisfactory, he will join his new teammates at their training camp in Germany within the next two days.

Adeilson, a pacey wideman who can operate on both flanks, takes the place in the squad of Ciel, his compatriot, who last week joined Al Ahli.

The 27 year old spent the early part of the 2013 Brazilian Serie A season with Nautico although he was subsequently released.

He strengthens an already-strong Brazilian contingent at the Rashid bin Maktoum Stadium, teaming up with Marcos Paqueta, the manager, and Edgar Bruno, Shabab's prolific frontman.

In 2009, Adeilson signed for Nice, the French Ligue 1 side, although he spent much of his time there out on loan.

And Al Shabab say they could yet invest again in the squad this summer.

Despite having the allocated four expatriates for the 2013/14 campaign, Shabab are considering signing two promising young South Americans, to then loan back to their respective clubs for a season.

Understandably, Shabab would not disclose the players' identities, confirming only that one is Ecuadorean and the other, a "good young player", is 20 and currently plying his trade in Brazil.

"The decision was to take Adeilson, but we'd a couple of players in mind before the season started, as a 'Plan B', for next year," said Obaid Hubaitha, the Shabab team manager. "We might still complete the transfers.

"At Al Shabab, the board is always thinking ahead, which is why we often get players at a very good price. So we're planning for next year. We always have a back-up plan, because you saw what happened with Ciel when we lost him three days before camp. So you have to act fast."

Shabab were predictably saddened to lose a player of Ciel's calibre. He scored 15 goals last season and often linked well with Bruno.

However, the club reportedly received in excess of US$10 million (Dh36.7m) for the deal, which included Walid Abbas, the UAE defender, also switching to Ahli. Their destination, to Shabab's nearest neighbours, particularly rankled.

"We're like a family, and if anyone leaves, of course, you feel disappointed," Hubaitha said. "You feel a bit betrayed, but this is football. Ciel's a footballer; he's here to make a living. But the most disappointing thing was he went to our rivals. It leaves you feeling gutted."

Despite the frustration, Shabab believe they have a squad capable of improving on a relatively successful 2012/13. Marcos Paqueta's men finished fifth in the league, but they reached the President's Cup final and were the Emirates' sole representative in the knockout stages of the Asian Champions League.

With participation in next season's Gulf Clubs Championship - Baniyas won the trophy in May - Shabab will again battle for silverware on four fronts. "We're looking forward to another good season," Hubaitha said. "We're expecting this one to be the toughest yet but, believe me, we always fight until the last whistle of the season.

"We have fighters here. Sometimes you have a good season but don't take a trophy. We have a clear strategy for this year: we're playing in the Gulf competition, another tournament we're looking to win. So let's see."




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