x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Maradona's arrival opens the door to others

Aimar the latest Argentine linked with a move here.

Neil Cameron

The arrival of Diego Maradona as coach of Al Wasl could spark an influx of other Argentines to the Pro League.

Alejandro Sabella, a Buenos Aires-born coach, was yesterday confirmed as Abel Braga's replacement at Al Jazira; Javier Saviola, who has been capped 40 times by Argentina, had been linked to Jazira by Maradona; and Pablo Aimar, the Benfica playmaker, could also be bound for the UAE.

Aimar, 31, a two-time Spanish league champion with Valencia, has been deemed surplus to requirements at the Portuguese giants and would only cost a minimal transfer fee as he is entering the final year of a four-year deal.

He is believed to be open to a move to the UAE and his availability has alerted Jazira and Wasl - who have made no secret of their search for a playmaker - as well as Al Ain, who have two berths available for foreign players.

Al Ain have already recruited the services of Ignacio Scocco, another Argentine, from the Greek club AEK Athens and hope to announce further foreign additions soon.

The availability of Francisco Yeste, who has been released by Wasl, will also spark interest among the bigger-spending Pro League clubs. The Spanish midfielder was one of the league's best players last season, scoring 10 league goals in an underperforming team that missed out on Asian Champions League qualification.

He is thought to favour staying in the country after adapting well to life in Dubai following his move from Spain eight months ago.