Vucinic targets titles with Jazira as Caicedo heads for the exit

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Title ambitions: Mirko Vucinic (c) has done his homework on both Jazira and the UAE.

Mirko Vucinic has vowed to bring success back to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium after he was officially unveiled as an Al Jazira player last night.

Vucinic, 30, also insisted he had not come to Abu Dhabi to take early retirement as it was revealed the club were in talks to terminate the contract of the man he will replace as their main forward, Felipe Caicedo.

The Montenegro international arrives from Juventus, where he was a Serie A winner for the last three seasons in a row.

Jazira will now hope he can use that experience to drive the club on as they go in search of a second UAE league title — a challenge that proved attractive to Vucinic.

“I would like to thank Al Jazira club, the management and my colleagues in the team. They have welcomed me and the negotiations did not take that long because I knew about the club and I knew about the history,” he said. “This club has not won titles for some years now and I felt this need and will from them to win something; and me too, I want to win.”

Jazira have endured two seasons without silverware since lifting the 2012 President’s Cup, having picked up six trophies in the five years before that.

The club has also proved something of a graveyard for big-name strikers over the last 12 months, with both Caicedo and Nelson Valdez struggling to adapt.

Vucinic says he has researched the Arabian Gulf League and the Arabic lifestyle.

“I am currently 30, next October I will be 31 and I would like to have my future here.”

Vucinic becomes one of the most decorated players ever to play in UAE football, having won eight trophies in 14 years in Italy.

First team manager Ayed Mabkhout is hopeful that kind of experience will prove invaluable at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

“I would like to welcome Mirko Vucinic. He has been one of most important players in Italy with three different clubs – Lecce, Roma and Juventus," said Mabkhout.

“He also plays for his national team and we would like him to show his best for Al Jazira.”

Mabkhout also revealed that new coach Eric Gerets had been “very impressed and very excited” when the idea of signing Vucinic was put to him.

The Montenegrin will take the place of Caicedo in Jazira’s foreign quartet, with Mabkhout later admitting the Pride of Abu Dhabi were currently “trying to agree a settlement with Caicedo so both parties are happy.”

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Stoch out to help Al Ain boss Asia & UAE

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Signing complete: Miroslav Stoch with head coach Zlatko Dalic (l) and team supervisor Mohammed Obeid Hammad

Miroslav Stoch wants to help Al Ain win more silverware in his short stint at the club.

Stoch became the Boss’ third signing of the summer, joining Lee Myung-joo and fellow loanee Rashed Essa, when he completed his 12-month switch from Turkish giants Fenerbahce last Saturday.

It is hoped the Slovakian can pro­vide the pace and skill coach Zlatko Dalic has asked for out wide, and the club have postponed a friendly scheduled for today (Thursday) by 24 hours to give Stoch more time to bed in with his new team-mates.

The 24-year-old met his col­leagues for the first time at their Montecatini Terme training base on Tuesday and is keen to make a good first impression.

“I’m so excited to start with Al Ain,” said the former Chelsea man, who turned down offers from sev­eral clubs in the Gulf to join the Garden City outfit.

“I have wide aspirations for the coming days as I know well the challenges waiting for Al Ain. I’m so excited to help the team to win more trophies and cups. I have good information about Al Ain, not much, but I know Al Ain is one of the best clubs in the UAE and Asia. I wish to adapt with the team soon to succeed well, which needs dou­ble efforts.”

Dalic made no secret of his desire for a tricky winger as he prepares his side for their AFC Champions League quarter-final against Saudi Arabia’s Al Ittihad next month.

“I spoke to Stoch about some issues and I expect a lot from him,” he said. “I told him we are aiming to win the quarter-final of the ACL, so I wish to get him into the team quickly and everyone will help him too.”

On Dalic’s assessment, Stoch added: “I think it is great when peo­ple speak good about you and Zlatko is from Croatia, near my country so I will do my best to be close to him.

“He knows well why he wanted me for Al Ain and I will work hard to meet the expectations of the management and the fans.”

Stoch joins Lee and Asamoah Gyan as the club’s confirmed for­eigners for next season while Jires Kembo Ekoko continues to train with the team in Italy.

No official statement has been made by the club on the former Rennes forward, but he will be giv­en the chance to impress before Al Ain return to the UAE, when it will be decided whether he is retained 

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Gyan skips fatal jet ski ride that reportedly killed best friend

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Safe: Gyan (r) was not present during the accident that killed his best friend

Asamoah Gyan has assured Al Ain that he is “okay” following the jet ski accident that has reportedly claimed the life of two of his friends.

Ghanaian musician, Castro, and an unnamed female companion are believed to have drowned following the incident, which occurred off the coast of seaside resort Ada, on Sunday night.

Gyan had decided not to accompany his close friend out into the water, and during a phone call to Al Ain head coach Zlatko Dalic and team supervisor Mohammed Obeid Hammad revealed the pain of losing one of his “best friends”..

“I wasn’t there during the accident,” he said. “I’m okay but I’m deeply sad for losing one of my best friends.”

Meanwhile, new signing Miroslav Stoch met his new colleagues at a training camp in Montecatini Terme, Italy, last night, along with 17-year-old UAE youth international striker Khalid Khalfan who has been called up from the academy to gain experience.

One player leaving the Garden City though is Mohammed Salem, who has joined Al Wasl on a oneyear loan deal.

The 23-year-old left-back broke into the Boss side at the end of the title-winning 2012-13 season but found opportunities much harder to come by last term, and will hope to kickstart his career at the Zabeel Stadium, where he was unveiled late on Monday night.

Meanwhile, promoted Ittihad Kalba have signed striker Sanad Ali on a season-long loan deal from Al Shabab.

The 25-year-old played just twice in the Arabian Gulf League last season, netting once, and has been allowed to leave the Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium in order to gain more first-team exposure.

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