Al Nasr signing Yohan Cabaye wanted 'different challenge' after Crystal Palace

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Yohan Cabaye chose to leave Crystal Palace to join Dubai-based Al Nasr in the pursuit of a “different challenge”.

The ex-France midfielder, 32, has decided against extending the three-year contract that expired on July 1 in order to move to the Arabian Gulf League, where he has committed to play for two years with the Blue Wave.

Palace had hoped to retain him, having made him their then club-record signing when recruiting him from Paris Saint-Germain for £10 million (Dh57.2m) in 2015.

But their chairman Steve Parish told the club’s official website: “I spoke to Yohan and he explained he wanted a different challenge.

“We wish him all the best and thank him for his time at Palace. We had some great moments together and he will always be welcome back.”

Cabaye said on Instagram: “First of all, I would like to say thank you to everyone involve at the @cpfc family.

“You’ve been amazing with me since day 1 and it’s been a pleasure to work alongside you. Now I’m a

@alnasr_sc player and I’m excited to start my new chapter.”

The Blue Wave have been active throughout the summer transfer window. Promising Brazilian centre forward Iury de Castilho, 22, was purchased last month from Ukraine’s Zorya Luhansk.

This followed the capture of compatriot Samuel Rosa, 27, from relegated Hatta.

Lebanon centre-back Joan Oumari, 29, is likely to be retained in the final foreign-player slot.

In the domestic market, Nasr have landed UAE centre-back Mohammed Marzooq, 29, from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club, forward Mohamed Al Akbari, 22, from Al Wahda and midfielder Al Hussain Saleh, 27, from Emirates Club.

A substantial improvement from 2017/18’s fourth place is expected after the positive impact of rehiring Serbia’s Ivan Jovanovic as coach in January.

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Chelsea star N'Golo Kante made top summer target by PSG

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Chelsea midfielder N’Golo Kante has emerged as a primary summer target for Paris Saint-Germain, according to L’Equipe.

The French publication are reporting that the Ligue 1 champions are keen to find a long-term successor to Thiago Motta who left the club in May.

Kante is believed to be Thomas Tuchel’s key candidate for the role – with the French international attracted to the option of being back in his homeland.

The 27-year-old beat Kylian Mbappe to win the French Player of the Year award earlier this year.

He made 46 appearances in all competitions for the West London side last term.

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Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club complete impressive capture of Mauro Diaz from FC Dallas

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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.

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