x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Striker Sebastian Tagliabue joins Pro League side Al Wahda

The 28-year-old Argentine, who was top scorer for Saudi Arabian side Al Shabab last season, is second foreign signing for UAE football club, reports Amith Passela.

Sebastian Tagliabue, left, scores for Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab against Qatar’s Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasem Burhan last month.
Sebastian Tagliabue, left, scores for Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab against Qatar’s Al Gharafa goalkeeper Qasem Burhan last month.

ABU DHABI // Sebastian Tagliabue has become the second foreign player to sign for Al Wahda this week as the four-time league champions move briskly to assemble their foreign quartet for the upcoming season.

According to Abdullah Salem, the team manager, the Argentine striker has already agreed terms on a five-year contract and will undergo a medical in Europe before signing the deal.

"He has been scoring heavily in the Saudi Premier League in the last two seasons and we are hopeful he can do the same for us," the former Wahda centre-back and captain said.

"Last season, we missed a player who could put the final touches on the scoring opportunities we created, and because of that we did not win a single trophy.

"Sebastian seems to be the right candidate for us with his excellent recent track record."

Tagliabue, 28, was top scorer for the prominent Saudi side Al Shabab, with 15 goals in 21 games. Before that he netted 21 times in 44 appearances for Al Ittifaq between 2010-2012.

He is set to join Marco Estrada, the 30-year-old Chile international midfielder who moved to Abu Dhabi from the French Ligue 1 club Montpellier on a three-year deal.

Tagliabue began his club career at the Primera C side Club Atletico Colegiales in Paraguay from 2003 to 2008.

He had spells at the Chilean clubs Everton and Deportes La Serena before moving back to Paraguay to play in the top flight for Once Caldas, where he participated in the 2010 Copa Libertadores.

Tagliabue replaces the Senegalese Papa Waigo and Estrada takes the place of the Croatian midfielder Srdan Andric.

Eric Mouloungui, the Gabonese striker who was injured on the eve of the last campaign, along with the Brazilian Marcelo Oliveira, both of whom who are still under contract at Al Nahyan Stadium, are also set todepart.

Dino Djulbic, the Australia centre-back, appears to be the only one of last season's foreign contingent to be retained for next term.

Wahda have appointed Karel Jarolim as coach, succeeding Branko Ivankovic, who was dismissed one month before the season ended. Josef Hickersberger was appointed as interim coach for the final month.

"We began with a similar preparation last year, with a new coach and new foreign players, but it didn't work for us," Salem said.

"The two new signings already this season are very experienced and will arrive at the club while they are in peak forms. It is a matter of how fast they can adapt.

"Sebastian has plied his trade in Saudi Arabia and should be very familiar with the Pro League and Marco has played in the top flight in Europe and I don't see any reason for them not to adapt quickly."

apassela@thenational.ae

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