Al Wahda confirm signature of former Arsenal midfielder

Barnaby Read 21/06/2015
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Denilson (r) battling with Yaya Toure during his Arsenal days.

Al Wahda have announced the signing of former Arsenal midfielder Denilson from Sao Paulo on a three-year contract as the Abu Dhabi outfit continue to strengthen their ranks ahead of the new season.

– AGL: Al Jazira deny Al Nasr move for Khamis Esmail
– AGL: Al Wahda announce Javier Aguirre as new boss
– Copa: Argentina reach quarters in Messi’s 100th game
– #360view: Braga’s second spell will be defined by defence

The Brazilian becomes new boss Javier Aguirre’s first signing and will replace Moroccan international Adel Hermach as the club’s fourth foreign player, alongside Argentine pair Sebastian Tagliabue and Damian Diaz and Kuwait centre-back Hussain Fadhel.

Denilson, 27, said on Saturday that he was leaving the city of his birth for the UAE “with a heavy heart because everybody knows about my passion for Sao Paulo.”

Having broken through the ranks at Sao Paulo, Denilson went on to captain his country at U15 and U17 level before being brought to the Emirates by Arsene Wenger in 2006.

A total of 153 appearances in all competitions followed over the course of seven years at Arsenal but Denilson struggled with injuries and form and was shipped out on loan to Sao Paulo for the final 18 months of his contract.

Having had his contract terminated at Arsenal, Denilson made the permanent switch to Sao Paulo, signing a four-year deal in 2013.

Denilson helped his side to Copa Sudamericana glory in 2012 and it will be hoped by Wahda officials and supporters that he can lead his new side to similar glory.

Wahda finished fourth last-season, a disappointing end to a year where the side were expected to challenge for top honours.

It saw Sami Al Jaber’s brief tenure come to a premature end, with former Atletico Madrid and Japan boss Aguirre announced as new head coach last week.

Denilson may not be the last arrival at Wahda this summer with Diaz’s future believed to be in doubt, should the Mexican boss find a suitable replacement. 

Most popular

Javier Aguirre named new coach of Al Wahda

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Javier Aguirre will want to improve Al Wahda's 4th-place AGL finish last season.

Former Mexico, Atletico Madrid, Espanyol and, most recetly, Japan boss, Javier Aguirre has been named new head coach of Arabian Gulf League side Al Wahda.

– #Quiz360: WIN a gym membership at FitRepublik

– Al Wahda: In talks with Sao Paulo midfielder Denilson

– AGL: Al Wahda's hiring of Le Guen not done deal yet

Aguirre replaces Sami Al Jaber who departs after just three months at the Al Nahyan Stadium. The former Saudi Arabia star claimed he was sacked because of a difference in opinion over the club’s direction.

The Mexican's appointment will come as a surprise to some Al Wahda fans after the club jumped the gun by announcing ealier this month that they were on the brink of hiring Oman coach Paul Le Guen on a one-year deal.

However, their 'deal' with Le Guen transpired to be a verbal agreement, with the Oman FA quickly reaffirming that Le Guen was going nowhere.

The AGL side will hope Aguirre is one of a number of new signings with Sao Paulo midfielder Denilson believed to be close to finalising a deal and Chelsea's John Obi Mikel rumoured to be on their radar.

Aguirre's time in Japan ended in February of this year after six months and ten games in charge, amid allegations of match-fixing at another former clulb Real Zaragoza.

The 56-year-old was forced to deny allegations that he was involved in fixing games and although he was never found guilty of any wrong-doing.

Al Wahda finished fourth in the AGL last season and the new manager will be under pressure to improve on this standing next term. Wahda have decided not take up their spot in next season’s GCC Club Cup as they look to concentrate on the AGL.

Most popular

Ahli to discover AFCCL quarter-final fate

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • Mail
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • G+
  • WhatsApp
  • Pinterest
  • LinkedIn
Al Ahli will be hoping to continue their excellent run of form in the ACL.

Dubai side Al Ahli will learn the identity of their quarter-final opponents when the AFC Champions League draw is made in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday (12:00).

The Red Knights are the UAE’s last surviving representation and with the competition still split between West and East Asia there are only three potential opponents for Cosmin Olaroiu and his side.

– #QUIZ360: WIN one-month gym membership at FitRepublik

– #360BUSINESS Neymar growing into football's biggest brand
– ON THE RADAR, June 15-21: Elite Squash Festival

They are Al Hilal (Saudi Arabia), Naft Tehran (Iran) and Lekhwiya (Qatar). Al Hilal were last season’s runners-up but will have to play their home leg behind closed doors after crowd trouble in their last-16 win over Iran’s Persepolis.

Lekhwiya, whose boss Michael Laudrup’s future is decidedly uncertain, are Qatari champions, while Naft were third in Iran and would be the kindest draw on offer.

The four East Asian sides left are Gamba Osaka, Kashiwa Reysol (both Japan), Guangzhou Evergrande (China) and Jeonbuk HM (South Korea).

Most popular