x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Maradona and Wasl move in for Donda to complete foreign quartet

An official offer given to the Argentine midfielder's club Godoy Cruz, and could become the fourth foreign signing of the team.

Mariano Donda of Argentina's Godoy Cruz has been on the wishlist for a while now, but negotiations have prolonged because the clubs could not agree on the amount.
Mariano Donda of Argentina's Godoy Cruz has been on the wishlist for a while now, but negotiations have prolonged because the clubs could not agree on the amount.

Al Wasl have finally tabled an official offer for Mariano Donda, the Argentine midfielder, after negotiations lasting most of the past month.

Wasl announced their offer to Donda's current club Godoy Cruz via their official twitter account on Monday night.

"Upon Maradona's request, Al Wasl make an official offer to Argentine side Godoy Cruz for the services of their midfielder Mariano Donda," the tweet said.

If Godoy Cruz, who finished third in the Argentine league last season, accept the offer, Donda will become Maradona's second foreign signing after Juan Manuel Olivera, the Uruguayan striker.

It would also complete Wasl's foreign quartet as the club had secured the services of the Chilean Edson Puch before Maradona's arrival and retained Oman's Mohammed Al Shaibah as their Asian player.

Maradona had earmarked Donda, 29, as a potential recruit last month while he was at home in Argentina, scouting for player to strengthen his squad. The negotiations, however, took longer than expected as the clubs could not agree on the amount Godoy Cruz - where Donda is contracted for another year - want for the player.

According to reports, the club have been asking for compensation of US$900,000 (Dh3.3 million) to release the former Bari man.

Donda, however, is determined on the move and said: "I spoke the president [of Godoy Cruz, Mario Contreras] a few days ago and told him what my position was and he told me his.

"I believe things are moving in the right direction and we are very close to a deal. Both sides have made concessions and things are going on well. A deal could be struck anytime.

"I know football is a business for the club and the player, but I believe both parties must work together to find solutions, with the focus being on making sure the player does not end up being annoyed or disappointed.

"Godoy Cruz have been very good to me and I hope they will continue to show the same respect."

Meanwhile, the UAE's Under 17 team took some consolation from the Gulf Cup by winning the third-place play-off against Oman on Monday night.

With the scores tied at 1-1, the match went to a penalty shoot-out, which the UAE won 4-2.

Saudi Arabia were crowned champions after beating hosts Qatar 4-3 in another shoot-out, following a 2-2 draw.

"Indeed it is some consolation," said Ali Ibrahim, the UAE coach, about his side's win. "The boys showed character in coming out to win third place after the disappointment of losing to Qatar in a shoot-out in the semi-finals.

"When I think of that game [with Qatar], we were in front until the last 30 seconds of injury time and to concede a goal and [then] lose the match in a shoot-out was really disappointing.

"But that's how the game goes. After all this is football and we are dealing with players less than 17 years of age. They will learn from the mistakes and as coaches we can only keep working with them to improve on the weaker areas."

"We will take the positives from this championship and start preparing for the Asian Cup. The morale of the players was up and a lot of enthusiasm shown to win the play-off."

Ibrahim's players will face Yemen in the U17 Asian Cup opener away on September 12. They are in Group B with Afghanistan, Pakistan, Maldives and Kuwait.

sports@thenational.ae


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