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

Corinthians alumnus looks set to light up the Arabian Gulf League in 2017/18, plus Anthony Caceres is poised to join Al Wasl

Matt Monaghan
by Matt Monaghan
26th July 2017

article:26th July 2017

Brilliant Brazilian: Romarinho in action (Getty).
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.