x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

'The best attack on paper'

Asamoah Gyan was officially unveiled as an Al Ain player yesterday, and said his decision to move to the UAE was motivated by his desire to win titles.

With the start of the new season just around the corner, Asamoah Gyan is all smiles as Al Ain's newest foreign signing.
With the start of the new season just around the corner, Asamoah Gyan is all smiles as Al Ain's newest foreign signing.

AL AIN // Asamoah Gyan was officially unveiled as an Al Ain player Monday, and said his decision to move to the UAE was motivated by his desire to win titles.

The Ghana striker decided to move to the Gulf in a surprise one-year loan deal from Sunderland, the English Premier League club.

"I am really, really happy to be here," Gyan said when he was introduced at the Khalifa bin Zayed stadium. "This is a big challenge for me to play in Asia, because it is my first experience.

"I had a good idea of Al Ain before agreeing to sign for them. They have good quality players to do well in the competitions. I am ready to give everything I have got to win some of the championship titles.

"As a striker, it is not unusual for everyone to expect me to score. Honestly, I need to score more goals, but more important is to be on the winning side by either scoring or helping others to score."

Gyan is likely to be paired up front with Yasser Al Qahtani, the Saudi Arabian striker who was also signed during the summer and Awad bin Hasoom Al Darmaky, the chief executive, believes Al Ain now have "the best attack on paper" in the league.

Gyan shot to prominence with three goals at the 2010 World Cup during Ghana's run to the quarter-finals, where he missed a penalty in the last minute of extra-time in Ghana's defeat by Uruguay.

The forward, 25, dismissed the controversy surrounding his move from the Premier League, saying it was a decision taken after consulting with people who mattered to him, and that the move would benefit him, financially.

Steve Bruce, the Sunderland manager, has condemned Gyan's decision to leave the club and questioned swapping the Premier League for the UAE.

But Gyan said: "When this opportunity came, I discussed the matter with the people who matter to me. My family convinced me too. I also needed a change of environment. The deal was good and what more can I say."

Gyan was Sunderland's record signing, having joined for £13 million (Dh75.5m) from the French side, Rennes, in 2010.

Niall Quinn, the Sunderland chairman, yesterday explained why the club had let their star striker join Al Ain, after club officials flew to England to discuss a deal.

"They were very professional but determined to sign the player and at this point we took a number of things into consideration," Quinn said. "The player's obviously negative demeanour in and around the training ground; the fact that the transfer window in the UAE had over 50 days remaining, meaning this was unlikely to go away; the clear desire of the player to leave; the forthcoming African Nations Cup, which would have meant losing Asamoah for up to six weeks in the new year; the obvious economic benefits to our club in the terms of the final deal laid out to us."

Gyan has completed the necessary paperwork and will undergo a medical when he returns from a few days in Ghana.

"When I will be able to play for Al Ain will depend after the medical and thereafter for the coach to decide," he said. "Obviously, they will want me to play as soon as possible." Cosmin Olaroiu, the Al Ain coach, said it was money well spent on a player at the top of his game.

"We don't want to see a 35 year old joining us, and spending his time in the swimming pool," he said. "The club has made the right choice to sign a player who can not only contribute well on the pitch, but can also motivate others.

"I have spent a lot of time in Asia, and I know the game is improving all the time. I think Asamoah has made the right decision to come and play in this league."