Emmanuel Emenike has shown no fear about the colossal task of replacing superstar striker Asamoah Gyan, vowing to “light up” Al Ain as he prepares to secure a one-year loan deal.
The Arabian Gulf League champions have settled on the Fenerbahce front man after they reluctantly accepted a “double the money” €20 million (Dh81m) bid from Shanghai SIPG for their prized asset. Gyan is in China putting the finishing touches to the UAE-record transaction, his 28-year-old successor expected to do the same on Thursday.
Emenike will fill the boots of a storied player who scored 95 goals in 83 top-flight appearances and won five pieces of silverware in four years, but this record does not daunt him.
— Al Ain FC (@alainfcae) July 9, 2015
“I am happy to make the move to Al Ain and I believe my legs will prove me right in the UAE,” the Nigeria international told African-Football.com.
“I am looking forward to a new challenge in the UAE, as well as to get more playing time under my belt and score many goals. For every striker, it is important to score goals and I am already looking forward to that challenge.
“I believe it is the best decision for me, to face a new challenge and as well as to prove I can score goals anywhere I find myself.
“I have not lost anything in my scoring ways. Nothing has changed in me, my scoring ability is very much intact and with time, I will be able to light up the UAE with goals.”
Emenike arrives in the Garden City after a disappointing and troublesome campaign with the Turkish Super Lig runners-up.
He scored just five goals in 34 appearances, regularly being played out of position on the wing and even forcing his own substitution in March after alleged abuse from his own fans.
This is his second spell with Sarı Kanaryalar, having originally joined in May 2011. A match-fixing scandal – for which he was later cleared – saw him move to Spartak Moscow just two months later, netting 21 times in 42 Russian Premier League appearances before his return to Istanbul for €13m (Dh52.9m) in August 2013.
His exit has been eased by Fenerbahce’s impending capture of Manchester United striker Robin van Persie.
Emenike has 16 goals in 35 international appearances since making his Super Eagles debut four years ago. He was joint-top scorer with four as his country lifted the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, starting all four of Nigeria’s matches at World Cup 2014 without scoring.
Al Ain are yet to officially confirm the move for the Delta Force youth product, though board member Mohammed bin Bdoua has vowed Gyan’s replacement will be from the top drawer. He said: “The only thing I’m certain about is that Gyan’s alternative will be a great player who will have just as much quality. We’re always confident in whomever we choose.”
Zlatko Dalic’s side have only chosen to retain South Korea defensive midfielder Lee Myung-joo from last term’s succesful four-player foreign quota.
Netherlands winger Ryan Babel has already been brought in from Turkey’s Kasimpasa on a two-year deal and Brazilian central midfielder Felipe Bastos has arrived in the UAE to put the final touches to his move from Vasco Da Gama.
Brazil striker Jo has vowed to exorcise the pain caused by a lengthy goalless run and “make history” at new club Al Shabab.
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Jo, 28, was unveiled as the Hawks’ marquee summer signing last night as they celebrated securing the 20-times-capped international to a three-year contract at a packed press conference.
The move comes after a painful end to his spell at Atletico Mineiro, going more than a year without scoring until his drought was broken in May and suffering a number of disciplinary problems.
Caio Junior’s men are confident Jo will rediscover the form which made him a member of the Canarinho’s World Cup 2014 squad and the ex-Manchester City ace vowed to repay their faith.
He said: “It was a difficult year for me, obviously it is not good when a striker goes more than a year without a goal. But thank God, with the help of my family I have been able to turn it around recently.
“I come here to face a new challenge and I have an aspiration to work my way into the history of the club and the Arabian Gulf League.
“I hope I can go forward in my career, scoring a lot more goals and bringing happiness to the fans of Al Shabab.”
Jo arrives at Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum Stadium after a stellar campaign saw them finish third in the top-flight, qualifying for the preliminary stages of the 2015 AFC Champions League and winning the GCC Club Cup.
The challenges ahead saw them seek an upgrade on resident target man Edgar Bruno, whose output decreased to eight AGL strikes last term.
Jo was excited by the determined overtures of boss Caio to recruit him, being inspired to send a video to the club in return saying how much he wanted to join.
“I thank Caio for what he told me in the conversations we had,” the tall former CSKA Moscow, Everton and Galatasaray player said.
“He explained how Shabab works, how the club is a family.
“It is a big club with big plans for the future. I am excited about helping to grow on last season’s tremendous achievements.”
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).