Romarinho is still the one for Al Jazira despite Al Rayyan challenge

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Brilliant Brazilian: Romarinho in action (Getty).

Arabian Gulf League champions Al Jazira have beaten away strong competition for Romarinho from Qatar’s Al Rayyan, and will soon add the electric Brazilian forward to their intimidating four-player foreign quota, after he arrived late on Wednesday night at their Netherlands training camp.

Romarinho, 26, has been doggedly pursued by the ambitious Pride of Abu Dhabi all summer. His allure has been added to by the fact he is available on a free transfer after all El Jaish contracts were cancelled in the wake of April’s merger with fellow Doha-outfit Lekhwiya.

But while ex-France defensive midfielder Lassana Diarra, UAE striker Ahmed Khalil and Uzbekistan winger Sardor Rashidov  – a former Jaish colleague – had all gathered with their new team-mates in Europe, talks with the target who possesses 40 goals in 72 Qatar Stars League run-outs ebbed and flowed.

Jazira feared earlier this week that a move to Rayyan and the potential for gaining dual Qatari/Brazilian citizenship from 2019 would scupper their dreams. Now, the free agent – who has excelled since a €7.5 million (Dh36.2m) move from Corinthians in September 2014 – has landed to seal the deal.

In the domestic market, Jazira hold a passing interest in wantaway Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club centre-back Mohammed Ali Ayed, but expect him to rejoin Al Ain.

Ayed, 26, is in dispute with the amalgamated side’s management and has demanded a free transfer. He went on to make 69 top-flight appearances for Al Shabab after he left the Garden City four years ago.

Meanwhile, Manchester City-owned Australian midfielder Anthony Caceres has reportedly flown into Dubai to seal a permanent switch to Al Wasl.

Caceres, 24, has been lent to sister club Melbourne City since the Premier League giants signed him for £145,000 (Dh763,211) in January 2016 from Central Coast Mariners. The Sydney Morning Herald has stated he is now set to fill the Asian berth for the 2018 AFC Champions League qualifiers.

Melbourne’s loan deal for Stefan Mauk from NAC Breda and pursuit of Australia playmaker James Troisi has forced him to look elsewhere.

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Al Ahli Jeddah take Leonardo lead as Al Ain and Al Nasr hopes recede

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Kingdom's calling: Leonardo in action for Partizan Belgrade (Getty).

Saudi Arabia’s Al Ahli Jeddah have emerged as leading contenders to seal the signature of prolific Partizan Belgrade forward Leonardo, ending lingering hopes of a switch to the Arabian Gulf League.

Leonardo, 25, has been of interest to both Al Ain and Al Nasr at various stages of this summer after his representatives offered him to leading clubs across the region for a fee in excess of €5 million (Dh21.5m). This follows a productive debut campaign during which he netted 24 times in 34 appearances as Crno-beli – The Black-Whites – lifted an eighth Serbian Super Liga.

A desire to earn a lucrative switch elsewhere saw Partizan agree to sell him once their fate in the UEFA Champions League qualifiers is sealed. Their third-round tie against Greece’s Olympiacos begins late on Tuesday night.

Ahly have made major head way to ensure they will snap Leonardo up before August 6’s deadline to be registered for the latter stages of the 2017 AFC Champions League.

Al Ain had investigated making the former Anzhi Makhachkala attacker their fourth foreigner, but Partizan’s financial demands allied with doubts about the player’s calibre saw coach Zoran Mamic announce an intention to re-register Brazilian striker Douglas two weeks ago.

Nasr also expressed interest to Leonardo’s representatives. Yet they have been subsequently linked to unwanted Internacional loanee Marcelo Cirino.

Meanwhile, Al Ain outcast Danilo Asprilla looks likely to find a new home at promoted Saudi Professional League-outfit Al Fayha.

Asprilla, 28, did not travel to Austria with his team-mates for an ongoing summer training camp after he was ruled surplus to requirements. The erratic Colombian winger had been in negotiations about a €1.5m (Dh6.4m) exit to Turkey’s Bursaspor, prior to them collapsing this week.

Reports in the Kingdom have stated Fayha have stepped into the breach for the January 2016 signing from Bulgaria’s Litex Lovech.

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Romarinho could disappoint Al Jazira with Qatar stay

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Samba star: Romarinho (l) in action against Al Ain (Getty).

Arabian Gulf League champions Al Jazira could be set for late disappointment in their chase for electric Brazilian forward Romarinho after Qatar’s Al Rayyan and Al Sadd emerged as strong competition.

The Pride of Abu Dhabi believed two weeks ago that a deal was done for the 26-year-old, who is a free agent after April’s liquidation of El Jaish. But he has stayed away from a pre-season training camp in the Netherlands – unlike ex-club-mate and Uzbekistan winger Sardor Rashidov, UAE forward Ahmed Khalil and ex-France defensive midfielder Lassana Diarra, who are integrating into the squad.

Complications caused by the ongoing Qatar blockade and the allure of dual citizenship has made the €7.5 million (Dh36.2m) buy from Corinthians in September 2014 now more likely to remain in Doha.

Rayyan need to find a buyer for 70-cap Paraguay defensive midfielder Victor Caceres if they are to make space in their four-player foreign quota for a target with 40 goals in 72 Qatar Stars League games. Spain and Barcelona legend Xavi’s Al Sadd are in a similar position.

Jazira also remain keen observers of the wrangle surrounding Shabab Al Ahli Dubai club centre-back Mohammed Ali Ayed. The 26-year-old – latterly of Al Shabab – is in dispute with the merged club’s management and has requested the termination of his deal.

Meanwhile, South Korea centre midfielder Park Jong-woo has pitched up at lowly Emirates Club on a one-year contract after he became unwanted at Jazira.

Park, 28, will add an injection of quality to a side who finished one point above the drop zone in 2016/17. The free agent scored once in 43 AGL games for his previous employers.

Al Nasr’s search for a foreign winger has reportedly guided them towards Internacional’s Marcelo Cirino.

Cirino, 25, has fallen out of favour just three months since his arrival from Flamengo. Globo Esporte has stated that the Blue Wave have made contact with a view to snapping up a forward who has one goal in 11 run-outs for his new team.

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