Digao regrets abrupt end to Al Hilal spell

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King of the castle: Digao (c).

Sharjah buy Digao has expressed regret about the way his spell at Al Hilal was brought to an abrupt end. Digao, 28, has signed a one-year deal with an option to renew after being made surplus to requirements at the Saudi Arabian giants.

This decision terminated the centre- back’s dominant two-and-ahalf- year stay, which saw an incredible 24 clean sheets gained in 45 Saudi Professional League outings.

“Now I pack my bags after two years with the team (Hilal),” he wrote on Instagram. “This is not the way I wanted it to end or the way that I deserve, but I have a lot to thank them for.

“I will not forget those who helped me to feel like I am in my home in Saudi Arabia, I will never forget how we fought so strongly so that we could win every game and the grief we felt every time we lost. I will never forget what it means to play for Hilal, and how important they were for my career.”

His new club are in the midst of a revolution as they bid to prevent a third-successive battle against Arabian Gulf League relegation. Digao has been reunited with Giorgos Donis, who coached him in Riyadh from February 2015-May 2016.

The King have also impressively made up for the loss of star striker Wanderley to Al Nasr, bringing in the 2015/16 SPL’s second top scorer, Gelmin Rivas, from Al Ittihad. Further eye-catching business from the Kingdom is expected.

Hilal forward Ailton and Poland playmaker Adrian Mierzejewski – who had his contract at Al Nassr cancelled last week – have both been linked.

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Al Wahda eye move for Dzsudzsak

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Dzsudzsak celebrates his strike against Portugal at Euro 2016.

The Clarets were forced back into the foreign market on Tuesday as Al Hilal swooped in unannounced to seal the latter-mentioned’s arrival, despite the forward previously undergoing a medical in Abu Dhabi.

Negotiations were immediately re-opened with Bursaspor for their 29-year-old winger, who was previously targeted last month.

These talks are expected to reach a successful fruition in the coming days, with a ¤3.4 million (Dh13.9m) fee paid to the Super Lig outfit.

Dzsudzsak would represent a significant coup for the Arabian Gulf Cup holders, the final spot in their four-player foreign quota being filled by an experienced attacker who scored twice at Euro 2016.

Turkish media reported that the 82-times-capped player was pulled out of pre-season training with the Green Crocodiles as a deal closed on completion.

Bundesliga pair Schalke 04 and Hertha Berlin have also been rumoured to hold an interest, as well as perenial Superleague Greece champions Olympiakos. But the financial package on offer from the Arabian Gulf League has seen Wahda move into pole position.

Boss Javier Aguirre has been insistent about adding a greater goal threat. This desire saw defensive midfielder Denilson, 28, sent to Cruzeiro on a six-month loan.

Dzsudzsak is able to play on both flanks and made his name on the left at Dutch side PSV Eindhoven, prior to a transfer to then big-spending Russian outfit Anzhi Makhachkala worth a reported ¤20m (Dh82.7m) in June 2011.

An injury-plagued spell ended a year later with a ¤19m (Dh78.5m) move to Dynamo Moscow, where he scored 13 times in 112 games before departing to Turkey for just ¤1.6 m (Dh6.6m) in August 2015. He notched three times in 23 top-flight appearances last term.

Wahda’s non-Emirati unit currently features 25-goal AGL top scorer Sebastian Tagliabue, Chile maverick Jorge Valdivia and South Korea centre-back Rim Chang-woo.

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Technical director Nani gets the boot from Jazira

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Time to say goodbye: Gianluca Nani.

The continuing shake-up at President’s Cup holders Al Jazira has seen technical director Gianluca Nani depart after less than eight months in the job.

Nani, 53, was brought to Abu Dhabi last December with a wide-ranging remit. But his influence waned following a poor January transfer window and inability this summer to shift unwanted foreign stars Jefferson Farfan, Angel Lafita and Thiago Neves.

The former Brescia, West Ham United and Watford administrator had no influence on the recruitment of Morocco playmaker Mbark Boussoufa last week, or the previous buys of centre midfielders Salem Abdulla and Humaid Ahmed from Al Wasl and Fujairah.

Nani was informed of the decision to part ways on Wednesday night, although a departure had been expected from before the end of last season. No direct replacement is likely to be sought in the immediate future.

An official announcement about the situation is yet to be made.

The call strengthens the position of coach Henk ten Cate, who impressed upon his December arrival after lifting a bedraggled side up to seventh in the Arabian Gulf League and twinning this with silverware. The Dutch influence increased last month when two-time former coach Jan Versleijen was brought back in as an assistant.

Of the staff which Nani employed, goalkeeping coach and ex-Arsenal star Manuel Almunia is expected to stay. The long-term future of first-team coach Gabrielle Cioffi is less certain, while fitness coach Massimo Neri has already departed.

The Italian is the second high-profile technical director to exit the UAE within a year. Bani Yas dismissed Spaniard Jesus Garcia Pitarch during 2015/16, who has since taken up the same role at La Liga heavyweights Valencia.

Nani’s reign will be remembered for the ineffectiveness of his winter additions, although he was issued with a limited budget to repair the damage caused by the catastrophic return of coach Abel Braga to Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.

Trinidad and Tobago striker Kenwyne Jones struggled to make the starting XI, scoring just four goals in 21 appearances after joining on loan from Cardiff City. Spanish playmaker Lafita is yet to notch in 14 games since moving from Getafe on a two-and-a-half-year deal.

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