x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Arabian Gulf League: Former Milan striker Lopez bound for Al Nasr

Argentine forward, who represents Catania in Italy, will arrive in Dubai in the coming days to undergo medical and conclude deal, writes John McAuley.

Maxi Lopez, seen in action for AC Milan last year, could be seen in an Al Nasr shirt next season.
Maxi Lopez, seen in action for AC Milan last year, could be seen in an Al Nasr shirt next season.

DUBAI // Al Nasr expect to complete the transfer of Maxi Lopez, the former Barcelona and AC Milan striker, in the next 48 hours after the player signed an "tentative agreement" with the club.

The Argentine forward, who currently represents Catania in Italy's Serie A, will arrive in Dubai in the coming days to undergo his medical and conclude the deal. The details of the contract will be revealed then.

Lopez, 29, is much travelled since beginning his professional career with River Plate in 2001 and, from 2005, spent one season with Barcelona before the Spanish giants loaned him to Real Mallorca.

He then had spells in Russia with FC Moscow, and in Brazil with Gremio until January 2010, when he agreed to join Catania on a four-year contract. A prolific second half to the season prompted a loan move to Milan, although Lopez struggled to find a regular first-team spot and eventually returned to Catania.

Last season, he was loaned to Sampdoria. During his time in Italy, Lopez scored 27 goals in 91 league appearances, while he has also competed in the Uefa Champions League, scoring once.

His arrival at Nasr will see him form a partnership in attack with Brett Holman, another recent addition, as the Al Maktoum Stadium side attempt to introduce the firepower to challenge for the Arabian Gulf League title.

"He's an excellent player with a fantastic history," said Fahad Hadi, a Nasr board member. "If you look at the clubs he's played for before, it's proof he's a player with great experience, an excellent addition, which we feel will suit that role up front.

"He's great with his head and technically accomplished with both feet – all the impressive statistics are there, so that's why we went for him. But it's an exciting signing, too, because only the year before last he was playing in Milan. When you find a player of this calibre, who is still only 29, obviously it represents a great deal."

Lopez replaces Giuseppe Mascara as Nasr's third confirmed foreign player for the 2013/14 season, joining Holman and Leonardo Lima. Bruno Correa, the Brazilian, remains on the club's roster, however they anticipate announcing another new signing – a winger – on Tuesday. Nasr have already held talks with Al Ain's Jires Kembo Ekoko.

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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