AGL contenders Al Wasl boost foreign ranks with exciting capture of Lima from Gremio

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Lima (l) in action for Gremio.

Arabian Gulf League title hopefuls Al Wasl have boosted their Brazilian contingent with the capture of Gremio attacking midfielder Lima on a season-long loan, with an option to purchase.

Lima, 22, was confirmed as the latest of his countrymen to join the Cheetahs ranks late on Monday night. Electric attackers Fabio De Lima, Caio Canedo and Ronaldo Mendes are already on the books of last term’s third-placed finishers.

“I am very happy to join Al Wasl and experience a new career in the Arabian Gulf League,” Lima said.

“I am very enthusiastic about representing the team and playing alongside my Brazilian compatriots.”

New eligibility rules for 2018/19 have dropped the requirement in the top flight for one of the non-Emirati quartet to be Asian qualified.

This rule still remains in place for the 2019 AFC Champions League, meaning only three of the Brazilians can be selected for the elite club competition.

Mendes seems the obvious candidate to drop out of the continental tournament, with the club confirming new coach Gustavo Quinteros has “closed the foreign players’ file”.

Lima has been attached to Gremio since 2013. He featured in both legs of February’s victory against Argentina’s Independiente in the Recopa Sudamerica.

In league competitions since making his debut for Imortal Tricolor in May 2017, he’s gone goalless in 19 appearances.

Previous loan moves have been undertaken at Spain’s Mallorca in the Segunda Division for 2015/16 and Serie B’s Ceara in his homeland during 2017.

Lima takes the spot occupied last term by Anthony Caceres. The Australian midfielder experienced an underwhelming loan spell from Manchester City.

Wasl have previously landed UAE anchor man Khamis Esmail from Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club and Al Ain’s colt striker Yousef Ahmed.

But a pre-season knee injury suffered by leading marksman De Lima threatens early hopes of success.

The 80-goal forward had a cartilage problem operated on last week and is a major doubt for August 30’s league opener against Dibba Al Fujairah.

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