FC Nordsjalland winger Ernest Asante has become the first signing of Marcel Keizer’s reign at Al Jazira on a two-year contract.
Asante, 29, caught the eye at Right to Dream Park since he was snapped up from Norway’s Stabaek in August 2016. His trophyless two seasons in Denmark’s Superliga produced 21 goals and 13 assists across 66 appearances.
The uncapped Ghanaian will immediately take the place of influential Morocco centre midfielder Mbark Bousoufa in the four-player foreign quota, after the parties failed to agree a contract renewal.
No official announcement has been made yet by ex-Ajax boss Keizer about the futures of Brazilian forward Romarinho, compatriot Leonardo – who spent last term on loan at Saudi Professional League-outfit Al Nassr – or Oman internationals Mohammed Al Musalami and Harib Al Saadi.
“Al Jazira completed the signing of the Ghanaian winger Ernest Asante, and he will join the first football team of Al Jazira as soon as the preparations for the upcoming seasons starts,” read a club statement on Wednesday afternoon.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi are recasting themselves after 2017/18’s Arabian Gulf League title defence ended in a seventh-placed finish.
Revolutionary coach Henk ten Cate retired after he narrowly missed out on a historic quarter-final berth in the 2018 AFC Champions League.
Compatriot Keizer was drafted in last month. He’d previously been sacked by Ajax in December 2017.
The 32-year-old has ended his three-year stay with Crystal Palace after signing for the Blue Wave.
Cabaye was out of contract this summer at Palace, although he had been offered a new deal on reduced terms by the club.
But he has opted not to sign the new contract on offer and the Frenchman has now signed a two-year contract with Nasr, as confirmed by the Arabian Gulf League side on their Twitter page.
It brings to an end his three years at Selhurst Park, having signed from Paris Saint-Germain in the summer of 2015, when he linked up again with his former boss at Newcastle United, Alan Pardew.
Cabaye was a first team regular under several different managers during his time at Palace, and played more than 100 times for the Eagles in all competitions, scoring 10 goals.
Nasr announced the deal on Tuesday and the Dubai club also announced he will wear the No7 shirt.
Cabaye had previously also played for Lille and Newcastle United and has been capped 48 times by France, playing at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Nasr finished fourth in the AGL last season, 16 points behind champions Al Ain. And in a bid to close that gap, they have acted swiftly in the early throes of the summer transfer window.
Their quest for a new No9 ended last month with the capture of Brazilian Iury de Castilho from Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.
The 22-year-old struck on 11 occasions in 25 Ukrainian Premier League matches last term for his fourth-placed employers.
In the domestic market, they’ve already acted early to land UAE centre-back Mohammed Marzooq from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and exciting young forward Mohamed Al Akbari from Al Wahda.
Nasr could yet retain Lebanon centre-back Joan Oumari and they remain in the mix to extend Brazilian Marcelo Cirino’s successful loan from Atletico Paranaense – or make it permanent.
Al Wasl have swooped in to snare UAE centre midfielder Khamis Esmail on a three-year contract from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club in what will be one of the Arabian Gulf League’s standout transfers of the summer market.
Esmail, 28, had grown into a standout figure for club and country during the past few seasons. His exploits at Al Jazira saw him complete a groundbreaking switch to – the now defunct – Al Ahli for approximately Dh60 million in January 2016.
But a combination of injury, indifferent form, instability at newly merged employers and the demands of the freshly introduced salary cap saw him made available for transfer at the end of 2017/18.
The 54-times-capped Whites star had been expected to move to Al Nasr. But he will now don the yellow of their Bur Dubai rivals after Thursday’s shock developments.
“I would like to express my happiness about joining the ranks of Al Wasl because of their historical achievements and large fan base,” said Esmail about joining last term’s third-placed finishers.
“I have huge enthusiasm to represent Al Wasl and to provide my best to achieve the aspirations of the team and fans.
“I wish to perform well and contribute with my colleagues to achieving trophies.”
Esmail is the second UAE international to recently depart Rashid Stadium. Centre-back Mohammed Marzooq agreed to join Nasr last month on a four-year deal.
Wasl previously made underutilised Al Ain striker Yousef Ahmed the first signing of new coach Gustavo Quinteros’ reign.