x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Lucas Neill's future in doubt as Al Wasl linked with move for Iraq Gulf Cup defender Ahmed Ibrahim

The 20-year-old was one of the standout performers in Iraq's run to the Gulf Cup final - and could move to the Zabeel in place of the veteran Australian.

Australia and Al Wasl defender Lucas Neill
Australia and Al Wasl defender Lucas Neill

DUBAI // Iraq international Ahmed Ibrahim is headed for Al Wasl to replace Australian Lucas Neill, according to media reports in his home country.

Ibrahim, 20, was impressive in central defence during Iraq's Gulf Cup campaign in Bahrain, where they reached the final before losing 2-1 to the UAE in extra-time.

He has been playing Arbil FC since 2009 and Iraqi media, quoting club secretary Mahmoud Aziz, said the Kurdish club have agreed a deal with Wasl.

Hakeem Shaker, the Iraq national team coach, has also confirmed the transfer, saying, "Ahmed Ibrahim has signed a contract with Al Wasl following his outstanding performance at the Gulf Cup."

Officials at Wasl, however, have refused to comment on the reports.

If Ibrahim does arrive at the Zabeel Stadium, he will be Wasl's third new foreign recruit in this transfer window after the club, who are on a six-match losing streak, were forced to replace Argentine Mariano Donda and Egyptian Shikabala due to injuries.

Al Ahli's Achille Emana has joined Guy Lacombe's side on a six-month loan deal while the formalities for Brazilian striker Jose Carlos Ferreira are expected to be completed during the coming days.

Dibba Al Fujairah, the Pro League's bottom-placed team, have also decided to replace their Asian player and Lebanese international defender Bilal Najjarine is their first choice.

He will come in for Syrian midfielder Abdelrazaq Al Hussain, who has been released after failing to impress during the first half of the season.

Najjarine, who has 28 caps for Lebanon, is currently playing for Churchill Brothers in India and Dibba are hoping for a quick completion of formalities.

"We are waiting on the arrival of Najjarine's [international transfer] card within the next few days to complete his registration process," said Abdullah Misfir, the Dibba coach.

"In case of a delay, because we have very little time before the winter transfer window closes, we have a number of other Asian players ready to sign as the fourth professional in Dibba's ranks."

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