x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Transfer talk: Al Ain coach Cosmin Olaroiu moves to Al Ahli

Romanian agrees to a controversial three-year deal with Arabian Gulf League rivals.

Al Ahli on Saturday night confirmed the appointment of Al Ain’s two-time league-winning manager Cosmin Olaroiu as their new coach after the Romanian agreed to a three-year deal with the Dubai club.

Luring the former Steaua Bucharest coach to Rashid Stadium on  a reported €4 million (Dh19m) a year contract from their domestic rivals will be seen as a massive coup for Ahli, who finished runners-up to Olariou’s Al Ain in the 2012/13 Arabian Gulf League campaign.

Olaroiu replaces Quique Sanchez-Flores, who last month ended his 19-month tenure in charge.

Olariou had 12 months remaining on his Al Ain contract and was said to be considering a proposal from the club to extend his stay but has now chosen to take up a new challenge with Ahli. He will be officially introduced to the players on July 14 ahead of the club’s pre-season training camp in Austria.

In another move that is sure to delight Ahli fans the Italian World Cup-winning captain Fabio Cannavaro, who has been working at Al Ahli in a special adviser role since retiring, will join Olaroiu in the dugout as his assistant in the rebranded Arabian Gulf League.

A statement on the club’s website read: “Al Ahli Football Club has agreed a contract with Romanian coach Cosmin Olaroiu that will see him lead the team for three years.

“The contract was signed in the presence of club CEO Ahmed Khalifa Hammad, sporting director Roy Aitken and team manager Ahmed Shah.

“Cosmin will arrive in Dubai on July 14 and will be introduced to the media before embarking on pre-season with Al Ahli. The team will go to Austria for a training camp ahead of the new season where they will work on fitness and compete in friendly matches to get ready for the new season.”

Al Jazira have signed the Morocco international Abdelaziz Barrada from Spanish side Getafe.

The Abu Dhabi club announced the deal on Twitter last night, saying: “Dear audience, an official contract has been completed with the player Abdelaziz Barrada, all the details will be announced at a press conference in the coming days.”

The 22-year-old midfielder’s signing comes just a week after the club failed to land international teammate Younes Belhanda, who opted to join Ukraine outfit Dynamo Kiev instead.

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