Al Jazira look to have finally convinced misfit midfielder Thiago Neves to accept a switch to Al Ahli Jeddah, according to reports in Saudi Arabia. Neves, 30, has under-performed since an €11 million (Dh43.9m) summer move from Al Hilal.
His return of four goals and two assists in the Arabian Gulf League has seen him become surplus to requirements as the Pride of Abu Dhabi reshape a squad which has slipped down to 10th after they were runners-up in 2014-15.
The Brazil international had been reluctant to move to Ahli because of a sense of loyalty to fellow Saudis Hilal and a desire to prove himself in the UAE. But Al Riyadh newspaper stated on Wednesday an agreement on a two-year deal is expected soon. This will free up a space in Jazira’s four-player foreign quota which can be filled by returning Peru forward Jefferson Farfan or the rumoured signature of a new defender.
Meanwhile, controversial Chile playmaker Jorge Valdivia will be able to focus solely on his Al Wahda duties for the foreseeable future after he received a four-match international ban from FIFA.
Valdivia, 31, was sent off in injury time for dissent during November’s fiery 3-0 defeat to Uruguay during the South American 2018 World Cup qualifying process. The suspension is a blow to his hopes with La Roja, but will see him avoid several draining trips to South America.
Bottom-placed Al Shaab have continued their re-fit with the recruitment of recently-released Jazira defender Ismail Al Jasmi. Al Jasmi, 26, has signed until 2019 on a free transfer.