x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Australian Brett Holman to join as Al Nasr's Asian player

Al Nasr board determined to offer full support to new manager. Club have drawn a list of potential foreign signings with Australian Brett Holman the first target acquired.

Australian Brett Holman will be joining Al Nasr after falling out favour with manager Paul Lambert at Aston Villa.
Australian Brett Holman will be joining Al Nasr after falling out favour with manager Paul Lambert at Aston Villa.

DUBAI // Barely 48 hours after he was in the first XI of the Australia side who clinched a place in the World Cup, Brett Holman signed on Thursday with Al Nasr, pending a medical, an official with the Dubai club said.

The forward played for Aston Villa last season, and was a regular for Australia in their Brazil 2014 qualifying campaign, scoring an 85th minute goal to salvage a vital 2-2 draw with Oman in March.

He has agreed to a two-year contract at Al Maktoum Stadium and will replace Takayuki Morimoto as the club's Asian player.

Holman arrives in Dubai on Friday, with Nasr hoping to introduce him to the media on Saturday.

"Brett represents a strong signing for us as he's an international player who has played in England, one of the top leagues in Europe," said Fahad Hadi, a Nasr board member. "He has the qualities that we needed at Al Nasr and, most importantly, he has a lot of experience.

"It's good to have someone with that knowledge in our squad, and he will only improve the team."

Holman's arrival could be the first move in an overhaul of Nasr's foreign contingent, with only Leonardo Lima, the Brazilian midfielder, guaranteed to line up alongside Holman in the side now coached by Ivan Jovanovic.

Bruno Correa's place in the squad is being evaluated by Jovanovic, while Giuseppe Mascara, the Italian who excelled during the last campaign, has been allowed to return to Serie A and Morimoto returns to Catania.

Holman, 29, can play as second striker or attacking midfielder. He began his career in his homeland with Parramatta Power before transferring to Feyenoord in 2002.

He played on loan at Excelsior and then spent a successful two seasons at Nijmegen until Louis van Gaal persuaded Holman to join him at AZ Alkmaar. There, he won the Dutch title and the Dutch Cup.

Holman then switched to Villa in March 2012, yet fell out of favour with Paul Lambert, the manager. In all, Holman made 27 Premier League appearances, scoring once.

Nasr have welcomed an Australian national before; the midfielder Mark Bresciano, who set up the Brazil 2014-clinching goal, was a formidable presence for the club in 2011/12, when they finished second in the league.

 

jmcauley@thenational.ae

 

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