x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Luis Jimenez prefers Dubai to Italy

Chilean playmaker turns down Sampdoria's Dh15.76m offer to honour four-year deal and to be part of Dubai club's 'ambitious plans'.

The 28-year-old Luis Jimenez, right, has played in Italy for most of his professional career. Hassan Alraisi / Al Ittihad
The 28-year-old Luis Jimenez, right, has played in Italy for most of his professional career. Hassan Alraisi / Al Ittihad

DUBAI // Luis Jimenez has turned down the chance to resume his career in Italy and remain with Al Ahli in what is a significant boost for the Dubai-based Pro League club.

Sampdoria, according to the Ahli chairman, made a €3.5 million (Dh15.76m) bid for the Chilean playmaker, 28, who had been expected to return to the country where he has spent virtually his entire professional playing for the likes of Fiorentina, Lazio, Inter Milan and Parma.

Jimenez, however, has decided against leaving Dubai and plans to honour the four-year deal he signed last year as he wants to be a part of the club's "ambitious plans" for next season.

"Luis Jimenez has turned down Sampdoria and will continue with Al Ahli," Abdullah Saeed Al Naboodah said on his Twitter account. "I spoke with Luis and he is very excited about the start of the season."

Al Naboodah, meanwhile, denied Ahli had made any bid for Walid Abbas, the Al Shabab defender who has been linked with a move to the Sheikh Rashid Stadium. Shabab say they have received no bids for the 27 year old who has been at the club since the age of nine.

"We have not received any formal offer for Abbas till now, but if it does come, we will consider it just as we did in the case of Mohammed Ahmed [who moved to Al Ain]," said Saeed Al Marri, the executive director of Shabab.

"If any club is speaking to him directly without our consent then that is illegal. If they come through the right channels and make a formal offer, the board will discuss it, take the coach's opinion and if we are satisfied at all levels, we might accept it.

"So at the moment, Abbas is on holiday like the rest of his colleagues and all this talk of him leaving is just rumours. We have discussed a renewal with the player and he has expressed his desire to continue."

A player who will definitely be at Shabab next season is Ali Mohammed Rashid who is expected to return to Shabab after terminating his contract with Al Jazira by mutual consent.

Rashid had signed a three-deal with Jazira at the start of last season, but was shipped out on loan to Sharjah in January after failing to clinch a starting spot. Last week, he met the club management to seek a termination of his contract and the President's Cup champions agreed.

Shabab have already added two new Emirati players to their roster – Abdullah Essa from Al Shaab and Abdullah Abdul Rahman of Al Ahli. They have also signed goalkeeper Ismael Rabea, who spent the last season at the club on loan from Al Ain.

The club have also recruited Edgar Bruno da Silva, the Brazilian striker, from Portuguese club Vitoria Guiamaraes to replace Kieza in the squad. Luiz Henrique da Silva Alves was expected to be their second foreign signing of the season, but the Brazilian striker has now postponed his visit to Dubai. Al Marri, however, was not concerned and said they had alternatives if the deal did not go through.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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