x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Fabio Virginio de Lima Al Wasl’s second foreign signing

But Dubai-based Arabian Gulf League club yet to decide on striker Ricardo Oliveira’s future as they also try to retain coach Jorginho, who could leave to join Brazil’s national set-up. John McAuley reports.

Ricardo Oliveira, in yellow, could leave Al Wasl before the start of the new season. Antonie Robertson / The National
Ricardo Oliveira, in yellow, could leave Al Wasl before the start of the new season. Antonie Robertson / The National

DUBAI // Al Wasl have confirmed their second foreign signing of the summer, with Fabio Virginio de Lima joining the club on a two-year loan deal.

The Brazilian playmaker, 21, arrives from Atletico Goianiense, a second-division Brazil side, having been recommended by compatriot Jorginho, who was installed as Wasl’s manager in April. Lima previously represented Vasco da Gama and becomes the second man from his country in the past month to make the move to the Zabeel Stadium, following the acquisition of striker Neto Berola from Atletico Mineiro.

“Fabio is a quality playmaker, which we needed, the coach wanted him and he was a very good price,” said Majed Obaidallah, the Wasl team manager. “Jorginho gave us the name, we checked him and were also convinced by him. He’s fast, has a good shot and is strong at assisting goals. We’re very happy to have him.”

Lima’s recruitment increases Wasl’s foreign contingent to three, with Ricardo Oliveira, another Brazilian, still on the club roster.

However, Wasl have delayed making a decision on whether to retain the 34-year-old former Al Jazira forward until he returns this week from an extended vacation.

Edson Puch and Emmanuel Culio, the two other expatriates in the squad, have been told they are no longer required. Oliveira’s future has a direct impact on Wasl’s transfer dealings, as they have a shortlist of four players to fill what could be two vacant foreign spots.

Obaidallah would not reveal the identity of any potential signings, but he said Wasl have approached two Argentinians and a Brazilian, while another has substantial experience of playing in Europe. Wasl want one striker, in case Oliveira departs, and a winger, too, and hope to have deals completed “soon”.

On August 3, they travel to Germany for a pre-season training camp.

“We need two more foreign players and at the moment we’re focusing on local players also,” Obaidallah said. “We have only a short time and we need to do everything before going to the camp.

“As of now, neither foreigner is close to being finalised, but you can say there is a 50 per cent chance for each. It depends on Oliveira’s situation, but should he not stay, we have to make sure there is already a replacement for him here.”

Wasl are determined to provide Jorginho, 49, with sufficient resources to help steer the club out of their recent troubles. Last season, they finished 12th in the Arabian Gulf League.

Jorginho has been linked with a possible return to the Brazilian national team, reprising the assistant role he held under Dunga’s tenure between 2006 and 2010, but Wasl are confident he will lead them into the new season. “He’s a very good coach, he’s satisfied with the work here and we are satisfied with him,” Obaidallah said. “We need to come back to the top.”

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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