Al Nasr have completed an exciting swoop for former Spain winger Pablo Hernandez, who has sealed a loan switch until the end of the season with an option to buy.
Hernandez, 29, arrived in Dubai last weekend to undergo a medical and agree terms. He passed this with few problems but negotiations remained ongoing with Qataris Al Arabi on the details of the move.
All issues have now been removed and an official announcement came this morning when he was pictured on their Twitter feed.
The former Valencia and Swansea player’s arrival pushes the Blue Wave beyond their four-player foreign quota.
No decision has yet been reached on the identity of who will depart. It is understood that Hernandez has not necessarily been signed as a replacement for Macedonia winger Ivan Trickovski, who is a long-term ally of coach Ivan Jovanovic and has recently struck up a good understanding with Senegal front man Ibrahima Toure.
تعلن شركة النصر لكرة القدم، عن إكمال إجراءات التعاقد مع اللاعب الاسباني بابلو هيرنانديز للانضمام لصفوف العميد pic.twitter.com/T2V19BmXwi
— AL Nasr Club (@ALNasrSC) January 27, 2015
Captain Brett Holman and summer signing Renan Garcia round out the non-Emirati slots.
The issue of who will leave has been complicated by Saturday’s Arabian Gulf Cup final against Sharjah.
Hernandez will add guile and speed to the Nasr attack, providing Toure with excellent service. During two seasons at Swansea City, he registered 13 assists.
The slight four-times capped international has also exhibited an eye for goal at Al Arabi, notching six Qatar Star League goals in 13 appearances since his summer move from the Premier League outfit.
Nasr currently sit fifth in the Arabian Gulf League table ahead of its resumption next week, when they host Bani Yas on Tuesday – the team they beat to make the AGC showpiece.
Bani Yas are considering whether to dispense with injury-plagued South Korea defensive midfielder Kim Jung-woo during the winter transfer window.
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– #360debate: Will Omar Abdulrahman leave the AGL?
Kim, 32, made only three Arabian Gulf League appearances before the international break after suffering a serious of problems. The summer signing from Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors picked up another complaint in the final Arabian Gulf Cup semi-final defeat to Al Nasr on January 16, coming off on 38 minutes.
Initial worries centred on the former Sharjah loanee being sidelined for a considerable time, but these have been calmed by recent medical tests on his affected leg which state he will return to training before the weekend.
This inability to stay fit, rather than his performances when selected, have seen the Sky Blues consider their options prior to the close of the market on February 12. Intermediataries have been contacted about alternatives.
“We have been satisfied with Kim’s displays this season, but we cannot ignore the problems with injuries,” a senior Bani Yas source said. “We have had to consider a ‘Plan B’ moving ahead, especially when we thought he would be injured for a long time.”
The club hierarchy held two days of discussions about their ideas for the coming weeks last week, where the issue of what to do with their four foreign players was a hot topic.
Bani Yas coach Luis Garcia is believed to be more than satisfied with Spanish playmaker Joan Verdu, compatriot Angel Dealbert and striker Denis Stracqualursi.
Meanwhile, Al Nasr centre-back Ali Al Ameri has expressed his excitement over playing his second cup final since joining the club.
Al Ameri, 26, has excelled since arriving from Al Jazira last January. He will be a key player in Saturday’s Arabian Gulf Cup decider, just seven months after helping his new club to GCC Club Cup success.
Omar Abdulrahman's performances at the Asian Cup have gained him even more admirers.
His current deal with Al Ain expires in the summer, with no new deal on the horizon. However, with many of Europe's clubs stepping up to show an interest in the star midfielder, money will be a serious impediment to any deal.
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Will Omar Abdulrahman leave the Arabian Gulf League?
James Piercy, deputy editor, says YES
The time has surely come for Omar Abdulrahman to move on to pastures new.
It’s well-known among Europe’s leading clubs that he has been the most talented player in the Gulf for some time now. However, domestic football in this region can often fly under the radar with misplaced stereotypes of a poor standard, both technically and tactically, often ruling any bright talent irrelevant.
But the Asian Cup has meant any secret surrounding his ability is finally out and a performance against Australia on Tuesday will surely see him named Player of the Tournament.
How he copes with the physical Australians could be a potential make or break 90 minutes for his future but his displays Down Under have already allayed many fears over his suitability for more prestigious surroundings than the Arabian Gulf League.
He is, without question, a special player. His first touch as easy on the eye as Luka Modric’s or Koke’s (two of the best technical midfielders in the world) and his ability to spot passes no one else can, a unique gift.
So far the issues over his continual presence have been as much with Al Ain’s unease about allowing the UAE’s prized asset to leave the country and Omar’s own reluctance, which is perfectly understandable.
But displays such as his, which have caught the wider imagination of the football world, cannot go unnoticed. When you factor in the marketability of owning a player from the Emirates, as many of Europe’s clubs look to the region for funding, suitors must be queuing up and sooner or later there will be too many for both Al Ain and Omar to resist.
He may not possess the requisite physicality for the Premier League but there are fine clubs, outside the established elite, in Spain, Germany and Italy where he would fit in perfectly.
At 23, Omar is a perfect age to move on and, from a symbolic standpoint, perhaps he and Al Ain will consider they almost owe it to Middle Eastern football to show off the region’s best to the world.
Matt Monaghan, reporter, says NO
Should Omar Abdulrahman leave for a European adventure? Absolutely. But will he? The answer, sadly, is no.
A number of factors are set to keep the Asian Cup’s star performer at Al Ain. The player is happy in a familiar environment,where he knows he is loved.
Abdulrahman’s background is well documented, born in Riyadh to a family of Yemeni origin. When Saudi Arabia would only offer a passport to this prodigious footballer rather than his entire family, his path was set to the UAE.
Abdulrahman has done a lot for his adopted country, but so has the Emirates for him.
This care extends to his finances, with Al Ain making sure their star performer is well renumerated. As with most Emiratis, he does not have an official agent as his club provides professional guidance.
Several well-placed sources have estimated when all sponsorship deals, bonuses, wages and provisions are taken into account that Abdulrahman could be taking home as much as €10 million (Dh41.2m) per annum.
For example, it is believed he was gifted a Bugatti Veyron supercar worth more than £1m (Dh5.5m) after playing a guiding role in the Whites’ 2013 Gulf Cup triumph.
Money is a serious impediment to any deal. Abdulrahman is unlikely to be handed such an amount by any European club looking to take a chance when such huge figures are involved.
The risk factor extends to his health. The last two seasons have been seriously interrupted by injury.
This term he has played only twice in the Arabian Gulf League. Such fallibility, when combined with the declining resources of proven European finishing schools such as Benfica and PSV Eindhoven, limit his options.
Abdulrahman’s current deal expires in the summer, with no new deal on the horizon. But speak to his club and international team-mates and they talk of a man happy in his current surroundings. He is going nowhere fast.