Pro League news: Bobby Zamora turned down Al Jazira
Bobby Zamora declined a lucrative invitation to become the first England international to play in the Pro League.
Contacted early in the January window by Al Jazira, the striker was sounded out about his interest in moving to the Abu Dhabi-based champions.
Though the terms on offer would have markedly improved Zamora's weekly wage at Fulham, the forward chose instead to move across London to Queens Park Rangers in a transfer worth up to £6m; a move completed less than hour before Tuesday's 11pm deadline.
Contrary to reports that the switch to Loftus Road had been held up by demands that newly affluent QPR double his Fulham salary, Zamora is to be paid less than £3m per annum at his new club where his new contract retains the same two-and-half-year. His future earnings would have been significantly improved by joining Al-Jazira.
While the prospect of playing in the UAE was not unattractive to Zamora, the 31 year old calculated that it would be almost impossible to re-establish himself in Fabio Capello's England squad for this summer's European Championship. if he moved outside the Premier League. The virtual guarantee of first-team football under new QPR manager Mark Hughes, a former Fulham boss, was his main consideration.
"QPR are certainly a club that are looking to go forward," Zamora said yesterday. "That's something that I'm looking forward to being a part of. I got on really well with the manager at Fulham. We all grew to like Mark. I think that will be the case here. He's looking to take the club forward.
"I think this was the right time for me to have a fresh challenge. "
Jazira explored a number of options for recruiting foreign players during the transfer window.
"There were around 10 names and he [Zamora] was one of them," said Franky Vercauteren, the manager. "But they were just proposals and discussions, which is normal when the deadline of a transfer period approaches."
Elsewhere, Valeriu Tita has become coach of Sharjah for a second time after Jorvan Vieira parted company with the Pro League team yesterday.
Tita was dismissed from the role in December and replaced with Vieira, but the club's fortunes failed to improveunder the Brazilian as they picked up just two points from five games and are two points above the relegation zone.
Sheikh Ahmed bin Abdulla Al Thani, the chairman of the club’s interim committee, said they had no choice but to remove Vieira from the position.
“We didn’t win a single match in five Pro League games and lost an Etisalat Cup match under him,” he said.
Tita will take charge for tonight’s Etisalat Cup tie with Ajman. Sheikh Ahmed added: “Our relationship with Tita had remained strong despite the decision of the previous management to sack him.
“Now the two parties have started a new relationship which they hope be more successful.”