Al Nasr have lodged a lucrative €7 million (Dh30.1m) offer they hope will finally prise forward Keno from Palmeiras’ grip, according to reports.
Keno, 28, is a long-term target for the Blue Wave and overtures were rejected for him during the winter. This firm stance from the Sao Paulo giants has not weakened their resolve to obtain a versatile attacker who has struck eight times in 30 appearances during 2018.
Esporte Interativo originally reported the fresh bid on Tuesday. With no permanent deal currently sealed for Marcelo Cirino after his productive loan stint from Atletico Paranaense, his fellow Brazilian could be their next left winger.
The fourth-placed finishers from the Arabian Gulf League have already recruited countryman and striker Samuel Rosa from Hatta. This is in addition to the impressive domestic purchases of UAE internationals Mohammed Marzouq from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and Mohamed Al Akbari from Al Wahda.
Jordan centre-back Joan Oumari is the only foreign star likely to be retained from 2017/18’s rollercoaster campaign. Morocco playmaker Abdelaziz Barrada was not offered a contract extension after an underwhelming two-year stint in Dubai.
Meanwhile, promoted Fujairah have completed their non-Emirati ranks with the recruitment of well-travelled Brazilian forward Jorge Silva on loan from Johor Darul Ta’zim.
Silva, 31, only joined the Malaysian champions in May after a contract dispute stained his final months at Saudi Arabia’s Al Batin. In the previous winter transfer market, this caused him to be linked with a free transfer to Al Dhafra.
He would strike once in four league matches during his short stint in East Asia, before a switch to the UAE’s east coast was completed on Tuesday.
He joins the fellow new boys of prolific Hatta playmaker Fernando Gabriel and Al Shabab Riyadh forward Mohamed Benyettou. French centre midfielder Omar Kossoko was retained by the side who required the promotion/relegation play-offs to earn a return to the top flight for the first time since 2015/16.
Ahmed, 24, burst into the Boss’ first team with six goals in 13 appearances during 2012/13. This seemed to herald a fine career in the Arabian Gulf League and beyond, but a succession of injuries plus intense competition for places with the likes of Ghana icon Asamoah Gyan and Sweden No9 Marcus Berg limited his involvement.
Just three more strikes in 20 top-flight cameos followed before a parting of the ways occurred this summer.
Wasl were desperate to add depth to their attacking options and moved quickly to secure his signature. Brazilian forwards Fabio De Lima and Caio Canedo scored 78.6 per cent of their AGL goals during last term’s run to third place, with reserve centre forward Hassan Mohammed registering twice in seven cameos.
Ahmed represents the first addition of Gustavo Quinteros’ reign. The ex-Bolivia defender was picked to replace Argentine coach Rodolfo Arruabarrena last month in the Zabeel Stadium dugout.
Quinteros, 53, had been out of work since an ignominious 14-game spell at Saudi Arabian giants Al Nassr ended with the sack in January. He had previously been dismissed by Ecuador last September because of their impending failure to make World Cup 2018.
Keizer, 49, comes to Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium on a two-year contract and inherits a talented side that was beset by external issues last term.
We take a look at the pressing issues he will need to solve if he is to replicate the stellar achievements of his lionised predecessor.
REHABILITATING HIS REPUTATION
It was not just Jazira’s name that took a pounding last term.
Keizer was handed a huge promotion in summer 2017 from Jong Ajax – and subsequently blew it. The words of general manager Edwin van der Sar were particularly scathing, stating: “We had a horrible summer and poor start to the season.”
This is certainly true of the failures in the Champions League and Europa League play-offs, ending a 25-year continuous spell of European competition.
Yet Kaizer can argue he’d earned 16 of the last 18 available points when Ajax pulled the trigger on December 21 – the Eredivisie’s best form at the time.
Such achievements show Jazira have done their homework on the new man. It is time to repay this show of faith.
الجزيرة #فخر_ابوظبي يتعاقد مع الهولندي مارسيل كايزر لتدريب الفريق الأول— نادي الجزيرة (@AlJazira_uae) June 2, 2018
Al Jazira Appoints Marcel Keizer as New Coach
more details: https://t.co/FvtzAeMcCQ pic.twitter.com/NUkAKSBe5r
YOUTH IS THE FUTURE
A key aspect of Keizer’s CV must have appealed to Jazira – his focus on youth.
When in charge of the fabled Jong Ajax – Ajax’s main youth team – in 2016/17, he led them to second place in the Eerste Divisie. Vitally, Matthijs de Ligt came under his care at this time and is now Europe’s greatest centre-back prospect.
The doomed stints of UAE forward Ahmed Khalil, ex-France anchorman Lassana Diarra and Uzbekistan winger Sardor Rashidov ensured that youngsters got chances last term under Ten Cate.
Keizer should now relish getting his hands on the likes of defenders Mohamed Al Attas and Khalifa Al Hammadi.
GETTING A GRIP ON RECRUITMENT
Last summer’s recruitment drive promised untold success for Jazira – it instead delivered misery.
Brazilian forward Romarinho is the only man left standing, with Emirati centre-back Mohammed Ali Ayed imminently expected to sign for Al Wahda.
It doesn’t look much better for the winter additions of Oman pair Mohammed Al Musalami and Harib Al Saadi. This churn of talent is no way to run a football club.
Both a new administration and manager must aim for consistency of selection if 2016/17’s drive for Arabian Gulf League glory is to be repeated.