x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 September 2017

Bruno Metsu plays down Al Wasl's expectations

Not expecting to be able to fight for the Pro League title next season.

Bruno Metsu is realistic on his chances of immediate success with Al Wasl.
Bruno Metsu is realistic on his chances of immediate success with Al Wasl.

DUBAI // Bruno Metsu has told Al Wasl fans not to expect instant success this season as his first campaign in charge will be spent rebuilding the team he inherited from Diego Maradona.

The Dubai club finished eighth in the Pro League and failed to win any trophies last season and Metsu said he will not be able to turn things around overnight.

The Frenchman said his second year at the club will be a more realistic target for trophies.

"After the disappointments of last season, the first year will be spent rebuilding the side and finding new players," Metsu, who has signed a two-year contract, told French newspaper L'Equipe. "We are looking at some players in France, England and Africa, and they are not necessarily familiar faces.

"We want to bring young players instead, 24 or 25, and build a team for the future. So that will take time. Also, the other teams have strengthened their squads since the end of last season and we are starting a bit late. We cannot turn things around so quickly and everyone [at Wasl] is aware of that.

"That's why we cannot set targets for this season. It is not absolutely necessary to win this year, but we can expect more next season. So my plan is for two seasons."

Metsu, who is expected to return to Dubai on July 24, will have three foreign spots to fill in his squad after Juan Ignacio Mercier, Juan Manuel Olivera and Mohammed Reza Khalatbari were all released by the club.

Mariano Donda, the Argentine midfielder, had his contract extended for two further seasons.

The club have the option of bringing back Edson Puch, the Chilean, and Mohammed Al Shaibah, the Omani defender, who were both sent out on loan after failing to figure in Maradona's plans.

Metsu will also need more Emirati players to strengthen the squad.

They have made just one new signing this summer, bringing in Mohammed Yaqoub, the defender, from Ajman.

Al Ain, meanwhile, have denied reports claiming Lyon's Brazilian international Michel Bastos is closing to signing a deal with the Pro League champions.

Cosmin Olaroiu, who returned to the UAE after a short training camp in Austria with his team, is looking for two foreign players to replace Saudi Arabia's Yasser Al Qahtani and Ignacio Scocco of Argentina.

"There are some names nominated by the coach [Olaroiu] and this player [Bastos] is one of them, but so far nothing happened," said Mohammed Obaid Hammad, the Al Ain team supervisor.

"The club is negotiating with some players that we are interested in and details will be revealed later at the appropriate time."

Elsewhere, Sharjah are trying to lure Ahmed Zuway, the Libyan striker, from the Tunisian club CA Bizertin. Zuway, 29, was one of the most prominent players in Tunisia last season and topped the scoring charts for his club with 11 goals.

Faouzi Benzarti, the Sharjah coach, has worked with Zuway in the past when he was the coach of Libya, and the Tunisian is keen to acquire the forward, whose contract with Bizertin expired last month.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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