Arabian Gulf League title hopefuls Al Wasl have snapped up South Korea’s World Cup 2018 centre-back Oh Ban-suk from Jeju United.
The Cheetahs have spent the last month attempting to procure an Asian-qualified player to bolster their suspect defence ahead of a renewed assault on the UAE’s top flight, plus the 2019 AFC Champions League. A deal was wrapped up on Thursday afternoon for the 30-year-old, who will take Brazilian playmaker Ronaldo Mendes’ spot in the foreign quartet after a season-long loan was agreed with promoted Fujairah at the same time.
Oh’s club career had until now been played out exclusively at Jeju, for whom he’s struck seven times in 198 K League 1 appearance since debuting during April 2012. He was a non-playing member of the Taeguk Warriors squad taken to Russia earlier this summer, with his two international caps coming in the tournament warm-ups against Honduras and Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Oman’s former Al Jazira centre-back Mohammed Al Musalami, 28, had been linked to the Zabeel Stadium-outfit.
Oh is unlikely to be risked for Friday’s tantalising clash at Al Wahda. This match sees last term’s runners-up host the third-placed finishers – and is a repeat of the 2017/18 Arabian Gulf Cup final.
New Cheetahs boss Gustavo Quinteros has demanded an elite defensive signing since the end of the club’s European training camp in early August.
His charges have only conceded once in two AGL matches, a 1-1 draw with promoted Bani Yas. But they shipped three goals to Wahda during the international break in the AG Cup.
The departing Mendes joined Wasl from Brazil’s Comercial Vicosa in July 2016. He struck 11 times in 45 AGL run-outs.
The ex-Santos loanee is likely to replace French midfielder Omar Kossoko in the Wolves’ non-Emirati contingent.
رحبوا معنا بمدافعنا الدولي الكوري الجنوبي اوه بان سوك 🔥🇰🇷 pic.twitter.com/XFRizKr3zC— Al Wasl SC (@AlWaslSC) September 20, 2018
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Al Nasr look set to ‘unleash the Beast’ on Friday after coach Ivan Jovanovic confirmed he has no choice but to hand an immediate debut to ex-Spain striker Alvaro Negredo against Arabian Gulf League-champions Al Ain.
Negredo, 33, inked a lucrative two-year deal on Tuesday after a €1 million (Dh4.3m) deal was agreed with Turkey’s Besiktas. This transfer represents a dramatic reaction to an awful start to the season which has included defeats in both top-flight fixtures.
“He [Negredo] has a lot of experience in European teams and I hope he will be a strong addition to the team,” coach Ivan Jovanovic said of his former Real Madrid, Sevilla and Manchester City centre forward.
“It’s not easy for him. He needs time. I believe he can help us in the future, but now with the situation we are in, he has to play [versus Al Ain].”
In contrast, opponents the Boss battled back last time out against Al Dhafra to maintain a 100-per-cent record. Prolific Sweden striker Marcus Berg is available after he recovered from illness.
Meanwhile, a defining clash awaits when runners-up Al Wahda host third-placed finishers Al Wasl.
The sides are experiencing contrasting form. The Clarets have won both matches to a combined score of 10-1, plus last month’s Arabian Gulf Super Cup, while the latter-mentioned required star striker Fabio De Lima to salvage a 1-1 draw last time out against First Division League champions Bani Yas.
New coach Gustavo Quinteros admitted he has plenty of things to improve on.
He said: “We are now preparing for a serious match against Al Wahda.
“We are working in the training to address all the problems in attack, and especially in defence.”
Highlights of Thursday’s fixture include Sharjah’s excellent start to the season being tested by star-studded Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club.
At the other end of the table, Emirates Club and Dibba Al Fujairah will not want to lose points to a relegation rival.
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.