Star midfielder Abdelaziz Barrada has promised to sweep up silverware at Al Nasr now his move from Marseille has been officially confirmed.
Barrada, 27, has inked a three-year contract at Al Maktoum Stadium after a reported €2 million (Dh8.1m) fee was agreed with the fallen French giants last week. This switch represents a return to the Arabian Gulf League, where he scored 10 goals in 22 appearances for Al Jazira during 2013/14.
Speaking after being presented with the No10 jersey by his new employers, the Morocco international looked forward to a bright future with the 2016 AFC Champions League quarter-finalists.
He said: “I am very happy to sign for Al Nasr. I hope to do as well as everyone expects me to.
“I would like to thank the president of the club and the fans for their trust in me. I hope to win a lot of trophies for the team.”
The confirmation brings an end to a disappointing two years on the south coast of France for the Provins-born playmaker. He scored just three goals in 45 games across all competitions after a €4.5m (Dh22.2m) fee was paid to the Pride of Abu Dhabi during August 2014.
Marseille were eager to get him off their wage bill this summer as they attempt to rebuild following last term’s dreadful 13th-placed finish in Ligue 1. This ensured they were prepared to accept a low fee to facilitate the sale.
Arabian Gulf League yo-yo side Ittihad Kalba have completed their foreign quota with the additions of Spanish playmaker Carmelo Gonzalez and Iraq veteran Salam Shaker.
The double deals for Suphanburi’s Gonzalez, 32, and Al Fateh’s Shaker, 29, were announced early yesterday morning as the newlypromoted Tigers added them to the previous acquisition of Burkina Faso striker Yahia Kebe.
Of the four-player non-Emirati group which helped the club finish second in the 2015/16 First Division League, only 17-goal Romanian forward Mihai Costea has been retained by coach Mourad Okbi. Kalba are attempting to arrest a pattern which has seen them instantly bounce between the top two divisions since a fine 2009/10 campaign saw them win promotion to the AGL for the first time during the professional era.
To do this, the onus will now be on their key buys. Shaker will be expected to add grit and class to an-already strong backline which conceded just 17 times in 16 second division games last term. The recently-retired, 93-cap centre-back arrives after a one-season spell in Saudi Arabia.
In attack, Gonzalez will join up with deadly Costea. The well-travelled Las Palmas youth product comes to the UAE after a three-and- a-half-year spell in the Thai Premier League, in which he scored 46 goals in 81 games at Buriram United and Suphanburi.
Kebe represents the star purchase. His 18 strikes for struggling Al Kharitiyath in last term’s Qatar Stars League made the difference in them staying up on goal difference ahead of Qatar SC.
Domestically, the only transfers Kalba have secured are the purchases of Ajman’s midfield pair of Mohammed Al Khdeim and Hamad Al Hosani.
Diaz, 56, is currently unemployed after his 18-month spell in charge of Los Guaranies ended after last month’s group-stage exit at the Copa America Centenario. This has made him available to land the Sky Blues post, which has been open since Dr Abdullah Misfer stepped aside after 2015/16 season.
The club – who finished a disappointing ninth last term – have prioritised appointing a new boss ahead of the start of pre-season training in a fortnight. Argentine paper El Liberal have stated negotiations between the two parties are “advanced”, with a conclusion expected within the next 72 hours.
The chances of the former Internazionale and Monaco striker making the switch has been improved by the fact his agent, Hernan Berman, negotiated Manuel Lanzini’s transfer to Al Jazira in 2014.
Meanwhile, Al Dhafra have confirmed the renewals of their superb foreign foursome.
The Western Knights rallied in the second half of the season after the January arrivals of nine-goal Syria forward Omar Khrbin, ex-Al Wahda midfielder Adel Hermach and Morocco centre-back Issam El Adoua. Alongside Senegal striker Makhete Diop, all four helped their push from the relegation places into an excellent eighth.
“Al Dhafra’s renewal decision came after the board took the advice and opinion of the technical staff, who praised the level of players,” a tweet from the club’s official account said Monday.