Al Ain have made a move for Kashima Antlers winger Caio as the UAE club look to strengthen their squad ahead of their Asian Champions League bid.
The Garden City side, the Emirates’ only continental champions, are in the market for a left winger and have targeted Caio, the 22-year-old Brazilian who has impressed since joining Japan’s J1 League in 2014.
Caio was voted the division’s rookie of the year in his first season in which he scored eight goals to help fire Kashima into the Champions League, and continued fine performances this year has garnered interest from Qatar and the UAE. Al Ain have reportedly already had a bid of €3 million (Dh12.3m) turned down, although they are expected to return with an improved offer.
Zlatko Dalic wants a left-sided wide player to balance his attack for next season, with Danilo Asprilla, the Colombian winger, holding a spot on the opposite flank for now. He could still be replaced, though. However, Al Ain are not believed to be interested in Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak, who is a target for Al Wahda.
Brazilian midfielder Fellipe Bastos, signed last summer from Vasco Da Gama, would be the one to make way for Caio. Predominantly right-footed, Caio has played an integral role in Kashima’s recent climb to second in the Japanese top tier after 15 rounds, scoring five times and registering three assists. Al Ain will seek to complete any business as swiftly as possible, with the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Uzbekistan’s Lokomotiv taking place on August 23. Dalic will led them there, since he agreed to a new one-year contract with the club last week.
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