The agent of prolific Sharjah striker Welliton has scotched reports about an imminent contract renewal and insisted the surprise Arabian Gulf League pacesetters must play a waiting game.
Welliton, 32, has rocketed in 16 goals in 16 top-flight matches – the joint most – during a productive second campaign at Khalid bin Mohammed Stadium. The Brazilian’s stated wish is to renew a two-year deal, signed upon arrival from Turkey’s Kayserispor in September 2017, but there’s alarm within his camp about the lowball offers made to date, plus strong competing interest from J1 League’s Cerezo Osaka about a summer free transfer.
Officials at the King celebrated the ex-Spartak Moscow attacker’s exploits in Thursday’s impressive 2-0 win against Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club by stating that an agreement had been reached. For representative Simao, however, such a conclusion is some way from occurring.
He said: “As I have stated before, there is nothing signed between Sharjah and Welliton. I am in Brazil now and we will be coming to the Emirates next month to discuss further the possibility to prolong the contract with Welliton.
“I am looking forward to discussing this with the people from the club. Hopefully, we will be able to find some kind of solution.
“But as of now, we have not been able to find one yet.”
Cerezo’s proposal is worth more per season (€2.2 million/€1.7m), plus is over a longer period of time (three years/two years).
Welliton is keen to stay at his current employers. He is settled in the UAE, plus the prospect of playing in the 2020 AFC Champions League is enticing.
For this to happen, however, he must be paid market rate.
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.
His well-taken, first-time shot against Shabab Al Ahli showcased an enduring prowess after a two-game scoreless run.
“It was a very important three points against a team who is fighting with us for the title,” said Welliton that helped maintain a five-point cushion and boost hopes of a first top-flight title since 1995/96. “We played very well and knew in the second half it was important to gain victory.
“We are on the right track and we have to continue working hard, remaining focused on our goal.”
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