Yo-yo club Ittihad Kalba have made flying Hungary winger Balazs Dzsudzsak the most high-profile signing in their history.
Dzsudzsak, 31, had been without a team since Arabian Gulf League runners-up Al Wahda declined to renew his expired contract at the end of 2017/18. Links to the likes of Glasgow Rangers, Fortuna Sittard and Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club then came to naught.
This provided an opportunity for Kalba to swoop in unannounced on Wednesday and complete the restructuring of their four-player foreign quota in eye-catching fashion.
“Balazs Dzsudzsak was contracted to support the first team,” said chairman Ali Hussain Al Logani. “This is a gift to our dear public.”
Dzsudzsak scored 15 times in 54 run-outs for the Clarets. He was bought from Turkey’s Bursaspor in August 2016.
His previous clubs include Dynamo Moscow and Anzhi Makhachkala in Russia, PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands and Debrecen in his homeland.
A total of 21 goals have been notched in 95 caps for Hungary.
His addition continues the recent churn at the promoted Tigers – who have alternated between the top-two divisions since they went up in 2009/10.
@balazsdzsudzsak7 welcome to Ittihad kalba 👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/HBEKccaM9Q— نادي إتحاد كلباء (@ittihadkalbafc) September 19, 2018
They have already sacked coach Jorvan Vieira and brought back ex-AC Milan midfielder Fabio Viviani for a second stint at the helm. This followed August 31’s opening 6-2 thrashing by Al Wahda in the top flight.
Croatia forward Antonio Perosevic’s poor early impression, Nigeria midfielder Raheem Lawal’s broken ankle and issues registering Tigres UANL anchorman Alan Santos mean they have been dropped. Romanian playmaker Florentin Matei is the only original summer addition to the four-player foreign quota who has been retained.
MTK Budapest’s Brazilian striker Myke Ramos and Carabobo FC centre forward Tommy Tobar were both drafted in earlier this month.
Kalba ignited their season with last Friday’s 2-0 triumph against fellow expected strugglers Emirates Club. They could now have Dzsudzsak within their ranks when they travel to pointless Al Dhafra on Friday evening.
The UAE Football Association will “not hesitate” to support the naturalisation of prolific Al Wahda striker Sebastian Tagliabue if this is desired, according to secretary general Mohammed Abdullah Hazzam Al Dhaheri.
The Arabian Gulf League’s record foreign goal scorer – with 113 strikes in 114 matches for the Clarets – responded last week it would “be my pleasure to play for the UAE if it becomes possible” when quizzed about widespread reports he would be called up by January 2019’s Asian Cup hosts. The uncapped Argentine, 33, became eligible this summer under FIFA rules, as he has been a constant resident since being purchased from Saudi Arabia’s Al Shabab Riyadh during June 2013.
Responding to questions about this issue at Tuesday night’s National Teams and Technical Affairs Committee meeting, Al Dhaheri responded: “The UAE Football Association is not able to grant citizenship, but we do not hesitate to support the team about any player that meets the conditions and criteria and is chosen by the technical staff of the team.”
If the Tagliabue process is expedited, coach Alberto Zaccheroni could select him for October 11’s meeting with Barcelona and Venezuela on October 16 in Barcelona.
Comments by Al Ain boss Zoran Mamic about ill-prepared and out-of-shape returning Whites players also engendered a sharp response.
“The statements made by Al Ain coach Zoran Mamic about the lack of happiness of his players during the national camp and the drop in their level during the league matches after their absence from his camps were not accurate,” said Al Dhaheri.
Arabian Gulf League strugglers Emirates Club have pulled off one of the biggest transfer coups in their history with the capture of Cheick Diabate, a prolific scorer in last term’s Serie A.
Diabate, 30, rocketed in eight goals during 11 matches at bottom-placed Benevento – including a brace against champions Juventus – during a half season on loan from Turkey’s Osmanlispor. This sensational run of form by the towering Mali centre forward, however, did not lead to a switch within Europe prior to most transfer windows closing at the start of September.
He has now headed to Ras Al Khaimah to join perennial relegation battlers. His new employers required a play-off to survive in 2017/18 and have scored just once when losing both top-flight fixtures this campaign.
The Falcons’ new-look foreign quartet already included JS Kairouan defensive midfielder Aboubacar Sylla, Ajman playmaker Bakary Kone and Vancouver Whitecaps forward Bernie Ibini-Isei.
New coach Jalel Kadri of Tunisia will need to engineer a profitable link-up with the latter-mentioned Australia international. This will be key to their survival hopes, as they seek to extend their AGL stay into a seventh campaign.
Diabite came through the youth system at Ligue 1 outfit Bordeaux, for whom he scored 66 times in 152 run-outs from 2006-16.
A move to the Super Lig with Osmanlispor did not work out and he helped Metz avoid relegation in 2016/17 with eight goals in 14 Ligue 1 appearances when on loan.
Another temporary switch to Benevento saw him excel in Italy, despite his side’s struggles.
His goal-scoring form was such that with six strikes in three games during April he equalled a long-standing Serie A-record held since 2001 by Piacenza striker Dario Hubner.
Links to Bologna and Genoa in Italy, plus Croatia’s Hadjuk Split, then surprisingly came to nothing in the summer.
The colossal attacker – who has netted 15 times in 39 internationals – should now make his AGL debut for the Falcons on Thursday at fellow minnows Dibba Al Fujairah.