Coach Jose Luis Sierra has strengthened his imprint on fallen Saudi Professional League giants Al Ittihad after surprise one-season deals were completed for familiar faces Luis Jimenez and Emiliano Vecchio.
Clubs in the Kingdom have, to date, been more circumspect in this summer’s transfer window, following 2018’s landmark $173.9 million splurge. This conservative approach continued on Wednesday when the Tigers announced their first foreign additions as they attempt to drastically improve on last term’s lengthy flirtation with relegation.
Vecchio, 30, has joined up with Sierra for the fourth time in his career. The Argentine forward first worked under him in Chile with Union Espanola and Colo-Colo, before briefly combining at Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club in 2018/19 prior to the tactician’s October dismissal.
Experienced fellow Chilean Jimenez, 35, will add some craft alongside resident playmaker – and close friend – Carlos Villanueva. The ex-Inter Milan conductor played for several sides in the Middle East from 2011-18, prior to an enjoyable homecoming at Palestino.
Brazilian forward Romarinho, Morocco internationals Manuel da Costa and Karim El Ahmadi and Serbia centre forward Aleksandar Prijovic currently round out their seven-player non-Saudi quota.
Cape Verde winger Garry Rodrigues is expected to imminently depart for Turkish giants Fenerbahce on loan. He cost €9m in January when purchased from fierce Istanbul neighbours Galatasaray.
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