Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia set to complete Al Wahda move after Copa America
ABU DHABI // One year after a move to Fujairah foundered, Jorge Valdivia again is looking to return to the UAE, this time with Al Wahda.
The Chile international midfielder, a sensation in two seasons with Al Ain, from 2008 to 2010, is still revered as one of the most creative footballers to play in the domestic league.
Wahda confirmed on their website on Thursday night that Valdivia is on his way to the capital, once his national duty for Chile in the Copa America is finished and a medical is completed.
“In general, both parties have agreed on a deal but the formalities will have to be completed,” said Aref Al Awani, former chairman of the club and now the general secretary of the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.
Valdivia’s five-year contract at the Brazilian club Palmeiras expires in August but sources said the player can leave one-and-a-half months earlier.
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“So the deal is on,” Al Awani said. “Valdivia is sure to make a very big impact at Wahda.
“The club were looking for a playmaker, which Damian Diaz handled last season. In order to replace him, we had to bring in someone who was better and Valdivia fits that bill to perfection.”
Diaz arrived at the Al Nahyan Stadium last season on a two-year deal that runs till July 2016.
“He has offers from two Latin American clubs but Wahda have left it for the coach and the player to decide,” Al Awani said.
“We knew Valdivia as a player when he was at Al Ain and now we are closely watching him play for Chile in the Copa America. He has not lost any of his abilities and skills as a player, and obviously will be a great addition at Wahda.
“He’s the type of player who can hold the team together as a strong unit and pull the strings from the middle. We have a great team assembled and Valdivia will of course be an important cog in that wheel.”
Valdivia has played a pivotal role for Chile, who have reached the Copa America semi-finals.
Al Awani believes Wahda will have a formidable Latin American flair next season, citing the addition of Brazilian midfielder Denilson, Mexican coach Javier Aguirre and Valdivia to a team who already boasted the Argentine striker Sebastian Tagliabue.
Wahda were fourth last season in the Arabian Gulf League. They have not won a trophy since capturing the league title in 2010.
Last summer, Fujairah said they had signed Valdivia and he visited the club and posed with a club scarf. However, the deal was never consummated.
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Updated: June 25, 2015 04:00 AM