Unbeaten Arabian Gulf League-leaders Sharjah must make a “very good offer” to free-scoring striker Welliton or risk losing him, amid widespread interest in his services.
Welliton, 32, has symbolised the transformation at the King in 2018/19. The ex-Spartak Moscow hit man has rocketed in a superb 15 goals in 13 top-flight matches, helping to, surprisingly, propel them to the summit for the winter break.
Such performances have not gone unnoticed elsewhere. With the two-year deal signed upon arrival from Turkey’s Kayserispor in September 20117 set to expire next summer, strained talks are currently under way with advisers that threaten the Brazilian’s long-term future.
“Welliton has proposals from other teams in Turkey, Brazil, Russia, Qatar and China,” said a source close to the player, who is demanding at least $3 million a year.
“Welliton is happy at the traditional club from the UAE, but the club would have to make a very good offer in order to retain the player with so much interest from abroad.
“His agent is at this moment in Sharjah waiting to discuss the renewal of the agreement with his current club.”
A failure to imminently wrap up fresh terms may force Sharjah to cash in during the winter transfer window, rather than lose the former Goias, Gremio, Sao Paulo, Celta Vigo and Mersin Idman Yurdu predator for free at season’s end.
This would risk destabilising the club’s best campaign of the professional era.
Welliton only struck seven times in 19 AGL run-outs last term, as Sharjah flirted with relegation under ex-Wahda and Sporting Lisbon coach Jose Peseiro before rebounding with inspirational local Abdulaziz Al Anbari.
The summer additions of countryman Igor Coronado from Palermo and Cape Verde winger Ryan Mendes from Kayserispor has dramatically improved the team’s production of chances.
Their services has allowed Welliton to strike at a rate of 78 minutes per AGL goal. This output has seen him join Al Jazira and UAE centre forward Ali Mabkhout as joint-top scorer from the first half of the campaign.
The importance of the poacher to the King’s prospects is detailed by the fact his 15 goals is more than double that of nearest team-mates Coronado and Mendes, who have seven.
Welliton has also struck in decisive matches. His late brace earned a 3-2 win against Al Wahda, he notched the opener in the 2-1 win at champions Al Ain and got the leveller in the 1-1 draw with second-placed Jazira.
The Conceicao do Araguaia-native is best known for his attachment to Spartak from 2007-14. There, he was the Russian Premier League’s leading marksman in 2009 and 2010.
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