x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Maradona casts his net over midfielder Mariano Donda

Diego Maradona seems to be casting his net toward the Argentine Mariano Donda for Al Wasl's second foreign recruit.

DUBAI // Diego Maradona seems to be zoning in on his second foreign recruit at Al Wasl, with Argentine Mariano Donda being the most likely candidate to complete the Dubai club's quartet of overseas professionals.

Donda, 29, a creative midfielder, spent three seasons in Italy with Bari before returning home last year to Godoy Cruz, who finished third in the Argentine Primera Division. Maradona has expressed his interest in Donda to the Argentine media, but no official move has been made.

"I am very interested in signing the player," Maradona was quoted as saying. "He will be a good addition to the team, especially since he has been playing at a good level in recent seasons."

A Wasl spokesman said they had heard about the interest, but Maradona had not contacted the club for official talks. "At this moment, we would not like to comment on anything other than what is official," the spokesman said.

Donda is thought to be waiting for a meeting with Godoy Cruz chairman Mario Rodolfo Contreras before he decides on his future.

"First I need to sit down with the president and then see what situation I am in," he was quoted as saying.

"I am happy to receive these offers, but my priority is to stay here. I want to continue here, but football is changing and you don't know where you are going next. I do have to consider these offers, especially since I am 29 now."

If the deal goes through, Donda would join Chile's Edson Puch, the Omani Mohammed Al Shaibah and Uruguaya's Juan Manuel Olivera as Wasl's foreign quartet.

Puch is expected to join the team today, while Olivera was expected to arrive yesterday for a medical and to formalise the deal.

The club also confirmed the departure of Francisco Yeste to the Greek club, Olympiako,s on a one-year deal.

"The club and Yeste mutually agreed to terminate their contract," the Wasl spokesman said. "We would like to thank him for his time at Wasl and wish him all the best for the future."