x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Radoi poised to leave Al Ain and join compatriot Olaroiu at AGL champions Al Ahli

Former Al Ain striker Boubacar Sanogo moves to Fujairah while Hazza Salem and Salem Abdullah leave Garden City for Al Wasl

Mirel Radoi, in white, of Al Ain tussles for the ball with Damian Diaz of Al Wahda during their Arabian Gulf League match at Al Nahyan Stadium on October 25, 2013. Satish Kumar / The National
Mirel Radoi, in white, of Al Ain tussles for the ball with Damian Diaz of Al Wahda during their Arabian Gulf League match at Al Nahyan Stadium on October 25, 2013. Satish Kumar / The National

DUBAI // Romanian midfielder Mirel Radoi looks set to reunite with coach Cosmin Olaroiu at Al Ahli after reportedly agreeing a deal with the Arabian Gulf League champions.

Radoi has played under Olaroiu at three different clubs in the past – Romanian club Steaua Bucharest, Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia and Al Ain – and has won league and cup titles at all three clubs.

According to reports in the Romanian media, he is looking to renew that partnership with his coach after turning down an offer to return to Bucharest in favour of Ahli.

Radoi, 33, has spent the past three seasons at Al Ain, but he failed to secure an extension after struggling with injuries in their last campaign, managing only 14 AGL appearances.

Considered a close friend of Olaroiu, Radoi has also struggled to gain the confidence of the Al Ain fans after the coach’s acrimonious switch to the Dubai club last summer.

Radoi was accused of deliberating elbowing an Al Nasr player in their league match on February 21, which earned him a red card in the 93rd minute of the game, so that he could avoid playing Al Ahli in the next round.

Officials at Ahli have refused to comment on the reports, but Radoi is expected to replace Portuguese playmaker Hugo Viana at the club as they defend their AGL and Arabian Gulf Cup title.

Another former Al Ain man, Ivory Coast striker Boubacar Sanogo, will return to the UAE following 10 years in Europe after signing with promoted club Fujairah.

Sanogo, 31, turned out for Al Ain for three seasons between 2002-05, scoring 43 goals in 54 matches, before moving to German club Kaiserslautern. He has played for Hamburg, Werder Bremen, Hoffenheim, Saint-Etienne and Energie Cottbus since and is looking forward to playing again in the UAE.

“Fans in the UAE still remember me for my time here with Al Ain,” he said. “I have some really sweet memories of those days and I am glad I will be playing here again.

“The fans here in Fujairah have given me a really warm welcome and I am sure that will be a big motivation to do well when the season starts. I hope I will be able to maintain the reputation I have over here.”

Al Wasl have received two players – Hazza Salem and Salem Abdullah – on loan for a season from Al Ain, in a reciprocal deal that saw Rashid Essa move in the opposite direction last week.

Al Nasr had offered Dh4 million to sign Salem, but Al Ain turned down the offer.

arizvi@thenational.ae

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