x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Al Wasl to get transfers in order

Al Wasl have denied they have received an official proposal from Al Ahli to sign Rashid Essa, their Emirati midfielder, and Al Shabab's decision to sell Ciel and Walid Abbas to Al Ahli will benefit the club in the long term, says their chairman.

Al Wasl says they will not entertain any offers for Rashid Essa.
Al Wasl says they will not entertain any offers for Rashid Essa.

DUBAI // Al Wasl have denied they have received an official proposal from Al Ahli to sign Rashid Essa, their Emirati midfielder.

Recent reports have suggested the UAE national-team player is attracting interest from a number of clubs, including Al Nasr and Baniyas.

However, Ahli have been credited with making a concrete offer, as the Dubai club look to continue to construct a squad capable of competing both domestically and in Asia next season.

Ahli are expected within the next few days to formally announce the signings of Ciel and Walid Abbas, the Al Shabab duo.

Earlier this week Abdullah Al Naboodah, the Ahli chairman, confirmed Essa was a player that would add value to the team.

A deal involving a collection of Ahli players going to Wasl in exchange - including Ahmed Khalil - has been mooted, even though Wasl maintain they have yet to consider selling their most prominent Emirati.

"There has been a lot of talk on social media and in the newspapers that Al Ahli already gave us an official letter to take Rashid, but we haven't received anything," said a Wasl official.

"Nothing has changed."

There is little doubt Wasl rate Essa as central to their plans, with the club last month welcoming him back to training following six months out following cruciate ligament injury.

Essa, 22, had to undergo surgery to repair the damage sustained last December.

He should expedite his return to full fitness during Wasl's upcoming training camp that begins in Germany tomorrow.

Speaking two weeks ago, Hamad bin Lahej, the Wasl vice-chairman, reiterated the club's stance, saying: "Essa's still with the team. He's continuing his rehabilitation and he's going with us to the camp. He is one of our children and he'll be coming back."

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether Wasl will have a fourth foreign player in place by then.

The club are currently in advanced negotiations with two strikers - one African and one Argentine - and had hoped to secure the transfer before they departed for Germany, but it seems most likely to be pushed back until after the Eid holiday.

 

AL SHABAB DEFEND SALE OF CIEL AND ABBAS

DUBAI // Al Shabab's decision to sell Ciel and Walid Abbas to Al Ahli will benefit the club in the long term, says the chairman.

The Dubai side agreed this week to transfer the vaunted pair - yet to be confirmed by Ahli - in a move that sees Essam Dhahi, the defender, return to Shabab on loan only weeks after he signed for the 2013 President's Cup winners.

Losing two of their main stars has come as a shock to the Shabab support, who anticipated the club's relatively quiet summer would bode well for their upcoming Arabian Gulf League campaign.

However, the Shabab board accepted Ahli's offer, thought to be upwards of Dh10 million, and permitted the players to then chose whether to join their Dubai rivals. Pictures posted on Twitter on Wednesday night, depicting both Ciel and Abbas posing holding Ahli jerseys, suggest they have already made up their minds.

"The deal is well thought out," said Sami Al Qamzi, the club's chairman. "The biggest beneficiary is Shabab. If you keep Walid and Ciel, at this age, for the remainder of their contracts, then they will leave the club with little or no return."

Al Qamzi described the transfer as "the most important and the biggest local deal in the professional era" and promised Dhahi would indeed be included in the arrangement. The centre-back, who impressed at Shabab last year, will definitely spend the 2013/14 season back at the Rashid bin Maktoum Stadium, with the option thereafter to negotiate an extension.

Shabab have already begun the process of finding a replacement for Ciel, the Brazilian striker who scored 15 goals in all competitions last season. They hope to have a new signing in place before Sunday, when they embark on a two-week training camp in Dusseldorf, Germany.

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

 

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