Welliton wish for Sharjah extension is threatened by larger Cerezo Osaka offer

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Joint-top scorer Welliton’s wish to ink his contract extension at shock Arabian Gulf League leaders Sharjah “as soon as possible” is threatened by a superior proposal from J1 League-outfit Cerezo Osaka.

Welliton, 32, has rocketed in 15 goals in 15 top-flight matches during a productive second campaign at Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium. The Brazilian striker’s strong desire is to renew his two-year deal, signed upon arrival from Turkey’s Kayserispor in September 2017, but there’s alarm within the players’ camp about the piecemeal offers made to date.

Sharjah’s incremental approach during months of talk is seriously threatened by a bid from Cerezo that is worth more per season (€2.2 million/€1.7m), plus is over a longer period of time (three years/two years).

An intention to receive something much closer to market rate could force the ex-Spartak Moscow, Gremio, Sao Paulo and Celta Vigo front man into a regrettable post-season free transfer away from the King.

“The negotiations are not going as expected,” said a source close to Welliton. “It seems that they don’t want to keep the player, as we are keen to sign as soon as possible at Sharjah.

“It is getting almost impossible if they don’t want to make a reasonable deal.

“Welliton wants to stay, but they [Sharjah] need to give a little bit more love. Other guys in the league who have no success are making more.

“With the way Welliton is playing this season, we believe that they [Sharjah] can go a bit higher. That is a just thing, we are not asking for anything unusual.”

For comparison, last term’s leading marksman in the AGL, Sweden No9 Marcus Berg, is reported to earn €3m per season at champions Al Ain.

Welliton’s importance to Sharjah is shown by the fact he has nearly scored double the amount of top-flight strikes as colleagues Ryan Mendes and Igor Coronado. They both have netted on eight occasions.

These goals have fuelled a surprise unbeaten run that threatens to famously end a 16-year trophy drought.

Cerezo finished seventh in 2018’s Japanese competition.

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