UAE midfielder Amer Abdulrahman says he has completed a “dream” move to Al Ain and cannot wait to help the Garden City side achieve more success.
The 27-year-old cut ties after 10 years with Bani Yas on Saturday to complete a switch to the Boss, with the 43-times capped UAE international’s arrival the biggest transfer coup in the Arabian Gulf League so far this summer.
The club also confirmed the arrival of 22-year-old Brazilian winger Caio from Japan’s J1 League side Kashima Antlers.
Abdulrahman is expected to replace Fellipe Bastos in the Al Ain midfield, with the Brazilian set to be made surplus to requirements despite scoring six goals in 36 games in his debut season.
Caio will take the place of Dutch misfit Ryan Babel, with fellow wideman Danilo Asprilla set to be retained. South Korea midfielder Lee Myung-joo is also expected to remain, meaning Al Ain will still have one spot in their four-man foreign quota to fill.
“It was my dream to come to Al Ain. They are a big club,” said Abdulrahman when he was introduced to a packed press room at Khalifa bin Zayed Stadium on Saturday night.
Reports that Caio IS joining Al-Ain. IF true, I wonder what swayed it after both club and player told me it was not happening! If true.— JSoccer Magazine (@JSoccerMagazine) July 1, 2016
“I’ll do my best to work with the team to achieve what they want to.”
The midfield schemer will be the third Abdulrahman at Al Ain, joining the mercurial Omar and his brother Mohamed, and the new man admitted he is looking forward to joining up with his many colleagues in UAE national side.
“Amoory and Mohamed Abdulrahman are my brothers in the national team and I have a good relationship with a lot of players here (due to the national team),” said Abdulrahman, who is not fazed at joining up with a squad that already has a star-studded midfield.
“I am confident I will play. I have a connection with the players who I have played with in the national team. I will do my best to let Zlatko (Dalic, coach) see me in training.”
Al Ain’s interest in Caio was reported last month but last season’s AGL runners-up initially had a €3 million (Dh12.4m) for the 2014 J1 League’s Rookie of the Year rebuffed, with two teams from Qatar reported to have offered more.
Caio revealed it was a “huge pleasure” to join the Boss.
“Al Ain is a huge club, one of the most important in Asia,” said the exciting talent who has scored 12 goals in 44 appearances during his two seasons with Antlers.
“Everyone can be sure that I will give my best for this club. If I need to I will give my blood on the field.”
Ghanem Al Hajeri said the double swoop for Abdulrahman and Caio was a “gift” for the club’s fans.
“Amer is one of the elite players in the country,” said Al Hajeri, chairman of Al Ain Sports, who was put in interim charge of the club board of directors after the previous one was dissolved last month over a distasteful television advert featuring the club’s players.
“There was mutual interest from both parties. He has very good relationships with our Emirati players. We are delighted to have him and we wish him all the best.”
Of Caio, Al Hajeri added: “He has been on our radar for a while. He is a young player who achieved championships with his previous team and we hope he will be an asset to the team.”