Superstar striker Asamoah Gyan bid an emotional farewell to Al Ain as his big-money move to Chinese Super League-challengers Shanghai SIPG was confirmed.
Gyan, 29, was granted the transfer to Sven-Goran Erikkson’s side after they submitted a “double the money” €20 million (Dh81.3m) bid to secure the club legend’s services.
The enormous offer – a record UAE transaction – proved too good to turn down for the Arabian Gulf League champions, who reluctantly decided to cash in earlier this week on a player who signed a bumper new deal until 2018 last summer.
The finishing touches on the Boss’ side of the deal were undertaken last night, the Ghana skipper being pictured on their Twitter account meeting with board members and staff at Khalifa International Stadium. He was also presented with a trophy to thank him for his four years of stellar service.
— Al Ain FC (@alainfcae) July 7, 2015
“I am lost for words,” he said. “This club will always have a special place in my heart no matter what happens in future.”
After signing the required documentation, the ex-Rennes centre forward was given permission to travel immediately east for medical checks and to sign his monster SIPG contract.
Official confirmation from the second-placed CSL club had yet to arrive, with coach Eriksson refusing to speak about it in his pre-match press briefing ahead of
today’s Chinese FA Cup fourth-round match with Guangzhou R&F.
Al Ain have moved on quickly from the sale, board member Mohammed bin Bdoua revealing Vasco Da Gama midfielder Felipe Bastos has landed to join already-signed Netherlands winger Ryan Babel. This move leaves one space in the four-player foreign quota for Gyan’s replacement.
He said: “With a bit more luck, Brazilian midfielder Felipe Bastos has arrived and we wish him success with the team.”
They are now in line to make a healthy profit on Gyan, a £6m (Dh34.4m) loan fee being paid to Premier League outfit Sunderland in September 2011 with another £4m (Dh22.9m) following in July 2012 to make it permanent.
Asamoah Gyan, who is on $250,000 weekly sum at UAE side Al Ain, set to earn $350,000 weekly at Chinese side Shanghai SIPG. ~ @Ghanasoccernet
— Oluwashina Okeleji (@oluwashina) July 6, 2015
During his triumphant spell, the club won three AGL trophies, the 2013/14 President’s Cup and 2012 Arabian Gulf Super Cup. He was top scorer in the 2014 AFC Champions League as he fired Zlatko Dalic’s men to the semi-finals for the first time in nine years.
But signs of age catching up with Gyan emerged last term. A lingering quadriceps problem restricted him to just 12 league starts, the Boss still being able to go on in his regular absences to win the title by nine points.
He now continues the summer flood of elite talent to the big-spending Chinese top flight. Senegal striker Demba Ba – who was an Al Ahli target – has joined Shanghai Shenhua for a large undisclosed fee and Brazil international Paulinho has moved to Guangzhou Evergrande from Tottenham Hotspur for €14m (Dh56.6m).