x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Transfer talk: Al Wasl want experienced fourth foreign player

Dubai club expect to complete signing of fourth expatriate by end of this weekend. Three strikers in the frame to become Brazilian Kaio's partner in attack.

Laurent Banide has three options to pick for his remaining choice of the foreign player at Al Wasl. Jaime Puebla / The National
Laurent Banide has three options to pick for his remaining choice of the foreign player at Al Wasl. Jaime Puebla / The National

DUBAI // Al Wasl anticipate the announcement of their final foreign player for the 2013/14 season by Sunday at the latest, as the club wait for a response from three players they have approached to fill the vacant striker role.

The Zabeel Stadium side are searching for a forward to play alongside Kaio, the Brazilian they signed last month from Yokohama FC, a team in the Japanese second division.

Wasl have identified a trio of possibilities, and endeavour to have the player in place before the beginning of Ramadan.

The team reconvenes on July 15 for pre-season training, where Kaio and Milan Susak, the club's other new expatriate, will be integrated into the squad ahead of what Wasl hope will be a campaign of marked progress in the rebranded Arabian Gulf League.

The Argentine playmaker Mariano Donda is expected to form an integral part of those aspirations given his return to fitness from a long-standing knee injury.

"We wait only to hear back from the prospective players regarding the fourth professional spot," said Abdullah Hareb, the Wasl chairman. "This is the main person we're looking for as he will prove very important to the team's chances of success.

"We're looking for a player who can help us, not just for a big name. It needs to be somebody who can work according to our strategy."

Another prerequisite is that the new signing must bring experience to what is a still a relatively young Wasl squad, although Hareb denied the player must already be familiar with football in the Gulf region.

The Dubai club's board, installed in March, have outlined their objectives for next season under new coach Laurent Banide, which include a significant improvement on league performances of the past two years.

During Diego Maradona's one term in charge, Wasl finished eighth in the Pro League before faring one position worse in 2012/13. They were UAE champions as recently as 2007.

That places even more importance on the appointment of the final overseas player, something Hamad bin Lahej, the Wasl vice-chairman, revealed the technical committee is only too aware.

"We have different nationalities in the team and a different language, so we need somebody who can adapt quickly to our football," he said. "Most importantly, though, they have to be able to cover the need of the team.

"Al Wasl has a certain style of play and we've searched for somebody who can commit to this requirement. The difficulty in getting the player is there are a lot of names on the market, with a lot of people approaching them, and then the price gets higher when we announce who we are targeting.

"And, typically, strikers are difficult to get. That's why we're facing a little problem to choose which one."

jmcauley@thenational.ae

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