Gonzalez, 33, was only drafted in from Thai Premier League-challengers Suphanburi F.C. on July 4. But Arabic daily newspaper Emaratalyoum has reported the Tigers board has decided to rescind their one-season deal with the Spanish attacking midfielder without a ball being kicked competitively.
The same scenario played out before their previous top-flight stint in 2014/15. Jordan forward Tha’er Bawab was released after an underwhelming pre-season, although such drastic action had a negligible effect on the team as they limped home last with just 10 points.
The decision leaves coach Moura Okbi with one spot open in their non-Emirati quartet. Veteran Iraq centre-back Salam Shaker, lethal Burkina Faso striker Yahia Kebe and prolific Romanian forward Mihai Costea will remain with last season’s First Division League runners-up.
Kalba are attempting to arrest a pattern which has seen them bounce between the top two divisions every season since a fine 2009/10 campaign won them promotion to the AGL for the first time in the professional era.
They have brought in midfielders Mohammed Al Khdeim and Hamad Al Hosani from Ajman in the domestic market, as well as securing the loan of U-21 League top scorer Shaheen Surour from Al Jazira.
The membership offers supporters the chance to book exclusive seating during Al Ain’s home matches at the Hazza Bin Zayed Stadium, as well as a variety of benefits exclusive to its holders.
Ainawi membership also includes discounts on a range of brands and Al Ain Club assets, while card holders will be given priority when it comes to booking tickets for games.
On the launch of the second season of the “Ainawi membership”, operations director at the Hazza, Mohammed Al Qadi, said: “The interest received from fans around the Ainawi membership last season was the biggest motivation for us to improve the privileges in cooperation with many retailers and add more value to it, which will be noticed and felt by every Ainawi member this season.”
Fans wanting to upgrade their current membership or take up the scheme for the first time should visit the club megastore at the stadium to register.
Price ranges from Dh200 to Dh300 and cards will be received within seven days of registration, according to the club.
Further information can be sought by contacting the club’s customer service on 800 AINAWI (246294).
Al Wasl’s new coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena has utilised his Greek contacts to try and push through a move for flying AEK Athens winger Helder Barbosa.
Barbosa, 29, has scored an impressive 15 goals during 68 appearances since being snapped up on a free transfer in July 2014 after leaving Braga. Such form has not gone unnoticed by the Argentine supremo, who featured at left-back for the Superleague Greece giants during 2007/08.
The Cheetahs have one spot remaining in their four-player foreign quota. Only ex-Santos attacking midfielder Ronaldo Mendes, 23, has been added since Portugal veteran Hugo Viana exited and woeful playmaker Rogerinho’s loan, unsurprisingly, was not extended.
They have so far eschewed the line of thought which saw ill-fitting target man Edgar Bruno – who was sold to Turkey’s Adanaspor on Friday after being mothballed since January – recruited last summer. A desire exists to replicate the versatile attack of 2014/15, in which current star forwards Caio Canedo and Fabio De Lima, plus now Vasco da Gama loanee Ederson Alves, plundered an incredible 46 goals in the Arabian Gulf League alone.
Barbosa would fit this model, with the one-time-capped Portugal international comfortable on
Interest was first registered in him last month. A fear then existed that big-spending Chinese Super League outfits would outbid Wasl on both wages and transfer fee for a player valued at approximately Dh12.3m. But the summer transfer window there shut on July 15, without any concrete offers.
Negotiations have continued since in a bid to reach an agreement. This process was stalled as AEK competed in the Europa League qualifying rounds, but it is now hoped significant progress can be made in time for the wide man to feature when 2016/17 kicks off with a trip to Sharjah in the Arabian Gulf Cup on September 3.
Barbosa rose to prominence during several loan spells in the Primeira Liga although he struggled to make an impact at Portugal giants Porto. His big break finally arrived in 2010 when he headed to Braga on a free transfer.
He scored 18 goals in 108 appearances there, before heading to Athens two years ago following a disappointing loan spell at Almeria in which he scored just one goal in 28 La Liga games. He has come into his own in Greece, scoring 15 goals and assisting 17 more during 68 matches. Barbosa also became champion of the 2014/15 Football League as AEK returned to the top flight and then followed this up last term with the Greek Football Cup.
Wasl have been active in the domestic market as they look to improve on last term’s second successive sixth-placed finish.
A total of 10 Emirati buys have been made so far, headlined by anchorman Humaid Abbas’ arrival on a free transfer from Al Ahli plus the exchange deal which took right-back Khalid Sabeal to Zabeel Stadium and midfielder Salem Abdulla to Al Jazira.