Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club’s extensive summer refit has continued with the exciting capture of diminutive FC Dallas playmaker Mauro Diaz.
Diaz, 27, has excelled in Major League Soccer since he joined from River Plate in 2013. He leaves Toyota Stadium with a record of 23 goals and 44 assists in 84 matches.
His new employers’ inaugural season was stunted by a misfiring attack as they limped to a distant fifth in the Arabian Gulf League. The former Argentina Under-20 international will be tasked with correcting this problem, alongside headline domestic recruits Ahmed Khalil – who returns to Rashid Stadium after a rollercoaster year away at Al Jazira and Al Ain – and Abdullah Al Naqbi.
Further deals are expected to be imminently confirmed with ex-Al Ittihad head coach Jose Luis Sierra – to replace Mahdi Ali – and Jazira’s emerging UAE forward Ahmed Al Attas. The former mentioned is also rumoured to be interested in bringing ex-Al Shabab stalwart Carlos Villanueva with him from the Saudi Professional League giants.
“I know this may not be the most ideal time to say goodbye, especially in a season in which we are doing so well, but this is a great opportunity for my family and for me,” Diaz told FC Dallas’ website on Wednesday when they confirmed the transfer. “I will always be thankful for everything.
“I want you to know you will always be in my heart.
“I want to thank FC Dallas for allowing me to be a part of its history and allowing me to wear those beautiful colours.
“To the fans, I want to thank you for your unconditional support all these years. I hope that the titles that we were able to win for you gave you all joy.”
Diaz helped Dallas win the Supporters’ Shield in 2016, as well as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup that same year. In that campaign, he was named in the MLS Best XI despite suffering a torn Achilles tendon.
He leaves a side who sit second in the Western Conference. In 2018, two goals and eight assists were registered by him across 12 appearances.
These figures should represent a significant upgrade on underwhelming South Korean attacking midfielder Moon Chang-jin, who’s been allowed to depart for Gangwon FC.
Croatian forward Ante Erceg was moved on to Brondby and Senegalese centre forward Makhete Diop switched to Beijing Renhe. Only injury-hit Moldova attacker Henrique Luvannor is yet to exit from last term’s foreign quartet.
UAE internationals Khamis Esmail and Mohammed Marzooq have transferred to Al Wasl and Al Nasr.
The transfer window is well and truly open.
With the rumours growing in pace and volume during this ‘silly season’, it can be difficult and painstaking to separate the stories of some legitimacy from the rest of the white noise.
Fortunately, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to do it for you.
Below, you’ll find some of the latest transfer news churned out of the rumour mill broken down and analysed for your benefit along with our calculated predictions.
Manchester City and Napoli are close to completing a £43m (Dh208.4m) deal for the Napoli midfielder, reports the Guardian.
Why it will happen: Pep Guardiola is keen to strengthen his midfield this summer with the Italy international viewed as ideal competition for Fernandinho who turned 33 in May. And with the potential to win silverware, it looks a difficult move for the 26-year-old to turn down.
Why it won’t happen: He is still a key man for the Partenopei and they really can’t afford to lose him, especially after coming within a whisker of winning Serie A last season.
Prediction: Napoli will want to keep their star man for another season, but Jorginho may feel now is the right time to move on from Stadio San Paolo in a bid to further his development and win silverware.
Arsenal are set to step up their interest in signing the Barcelona midfielder, according to the Independent.
Why it will happen: With Philippe Coutinho‘s arrival and Gremio star Arthur incoming, Gomes’ first-team chances are limited. And with new Gunners boss Unai Emery looking to strength his squad ahead of the new season, the Portuguese has emerged as a key target for the North London side.
Why it won’t happen: His excessive wage demands may force Arsenal to pull out of a potential deal.
Prediction: The former Valencia man looks certain to leave Barcelona this summer but where his next destination could be is still not clear.
Arsenal and Tottenham face competition from Napoli for the highly-rated Frenchman, according to Corriere dello Sport.
Why it will happen: The 22-year-old has been a class act so far at the World Cup and may feel it is the right time to move away from the Bundesliga to further develop his career.
Why it won’t happen: Pavard played every minute of Stuttgart’s Bundesliga campaign last season and enjoys the pressure of being the main man in their defence.
Prediction: Although Stuttgart will want Pavard to stay, expect more interest to follow for his services as Didier Deschamps’ side progress to the latter stages of the World Cup.
Cristiano Ronaldo is open to the idea of joining Juventus with the Italian giants preparing a £88million deal for the forward, the Daily Mirror reports.
Ronaldo, who left the World Cup earlier than hoped as Portugal lost 2-1 to Uruguay, will be offered a contract worth £26.5million a year, the paper adds.
Another forward on the move is Riyad Mahrez, whose protracted transfer from Leicester to Manchester City is set to get the go-ahead later this week, according to the Daily Mail. The paper said the deal could be worth up to £60million.
Barcelona could be looking to cash in on midfielder Andre Gomes over the summer, with new Arsenal manager Unai Emery keen on taking the Portugal international for around £30million, the Independent says.
Felipe Anderson is the subject of a bidding war, with West Ham and Chelsea looking to get the Lazio midfielder, while Monaco and Valencia are also interested, according to the Daily Mirror.
A pair of Premier League clubs are looking to sign Joe Bryan from Bristol City, with Burnley and Bournemouth interested in the left-back, while Leeds and Middlesbrough are also keen on the 24-year-old, according to the Daily Mirror.