x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Status quo on Mascara and Correa as Al Nasr still await West Brom star

Moves interlinked as club have not given up on Peter Odemwingie and 'one other striker'.

Mascara Giuseppe, left, and Bruno Cesar Correa, right, have shown keenness to impress the new coach Ivan Jovanovic but must wait and watch for now. Anas Kanni / Al Ittihad
Mascara Giuseppe, left, and Bruno Cesar Correa, right, have shown keenness to impress the new coach Ivan Jovanovic but must wait and watch for now. Anas Kanni / Al Ittihad

DUBAI // Al Nasr have yet to decide on the futures of Giuseppe Mascara and Bruno Correa, with the club currently considering offers for both players.

The pair, signed last summer during Walter Zenga's tenure, had been expected to be released this month as the Al Maktoum Stadium side begin a new era under Ivan Jovanovic, the Serbian coach.

Nasr had previously stated that Mascara and Correa would be allowed to leave, although the club were intent on delaying their decision until Jovanovic arrived two weeks ago. Mascara has been a regular at pre-season training and is thought to have impressed his new coach with his commitment, in spite of the doubts regarding his place in next season's squad.

Correa joined his teammates on Thursday night, yet Nasr did give the Brazilian special dispensation to return later to Dubai. Leonardo Lima, the club captain and Correa's compatriot, was also provided an extra week's rest.

However, Nasr are unsure whether to retain Mascara and Correa - both are forwards - especially as the technical committee is preparing an improved bid for Peter Odemwingie, the striker currently employed at West Bromwich Albion in the English Premier League.

Nasr have had an offer, believed to be £850,000 (Dh4.78m), rejected by West Brom, but they are assessing options to increase the original amount.

With Lima and Brett Holman already occupying two of the four allocated foreign spots, a successful bid for Odemwingie would directly impact either Mascara or Correa.

Understandably, Nasr are eager to resolve the situation before the club embark on next month's training camp in Munich.

"We have two options: we can keep the two players or we currently have offers from teams locally and in the Gulf requesting the players," said a Nasr official.

"So we are studying both cases and we'll see what is the best solution for the club and the players. At this moment, Mascara and [Correa] are in the team, are training and they might go to the camp. They are both under contract, but we have offers. This doesn't mean they are staying or leaving - the final decision has simply yet to be taken."

Thus far this summer, Nasr have been frustrated in attempts to add to their overseas contingent. The club have approached Ibrahima Toure, the Monaco striker, although he expressed a preference to remain in France, while Roque Santa Cruz, a free agent following an unsuccessful time with Manchester City, chose to join Malaga in Spain's Primera Liga.

"Movement is ongoing, but there is still no major progress with signings," said the official. "As everyone knows, we made a bid for Odemwingie but it was rejected. We're still trying to prepare a better offer for him, but Fulham and other clubs in the United Kingdom are also interested.

"He'll obviously take the better contract as he's 32 now, and if he wants to remain at a high level he'll stay in the Premier League.

"However, we're looking at one other striker, who plays in a major European league. I cannot name him, but we hope we can finalise it very soon."

The official confirmed Nasr aim to have their final squad for the 2013/14 season in place before the end of Ramadan.

"Of course," he added. "Every other day the technical committee has a meeting and is studying all possibilities, so most probably before the end of next week we'll have either finished a deal with some player or will be keeping those already here.

"We don't want to start the training camp with some papers still open."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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