x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Gulf-owned clubs make key signings

Malaga and Getafe have both used money from the Middle East to strengthen their teams ahead of next season.

Malaga, the Qatar-owned Spanish club, have continued their summer spending spree with the capture of Joaquin Sanchez, the Spain international winger.

Sanchez is the club's seventh summer signing. Diego Buonanotte, Martin Demichelis, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Nacho Monreal, Jeremy Toulalan and Joris Mathijsen have already been recruited.

The talent infusion is a sign of the ambition of Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser, the club's owner and a member of the Al Thani ruling family.

Although financial details of the transfer have not been announced, it has been reported in Spain that Malaga will pay around €4 million (Dh20.8m) for Sanchez.

A statement from the club indicated that Sanchez has reached an agreement on a contract.

Sanchez, 29, has spent the last five seasons at Valencia after coming over from Real Betis for a fee in the region of €24m. He has won 50 caps for Spain.

Malaga finished last season in 11th spot in La Liga, three points above the relegation zone, after winning five of their final seven games.

Getafe, another Gulf-owned club, have confirmed the signing of Juan Rodriguez, the former Deportivo La Coruna midfielder.

The club from the outskirts of Madrid narrowly avoiding relegation last season when they finished just a point above the drop zone.

The Royal Emirates Group, a Dubai investment firm chaired by Sheikh Butti bin Suhail, appear keen to climb the table judging by their move to replace Michel with Luis Garcia as coach while adding Albert Lopo, Diego Castro, Miguel Angel Moya and Mehdi Lacen to the playing squad.

Rodriguez, 29, has agreed a four-year contract with Getafe after leaving relegated Depor, who he joined in 2006 having previously played for hometown club Malaga.