Al Ahli closing in on Mohamed deal
DUBAI // Al Ahli have put an end to reports linking them with a move for Harry Kewell, the Australia forward, by agreeing a deal with Youssef Mohamad, the former Lebanon captain.
Mohamad, a 31-year-old defender who has played for Freiburg and Cologne in the German Bundesliga since 2004, arrived at the Dubai club on Tuesday for a medical.
A deal is expected to be formalised once Ahli and the player get approval from Cologne.
If the deal goes through, Mohamad will be Ahli's fourth foreign recruit alongside Grafite, Jakson Avelino Coelho and Luis Jimenez. He will take the Asian player's spot among Ahli's four foreign players.
"The player and Ahli have agreed a deal," said a club spokesman. "Mohamad, however, still has two years left on his contract with Cologne and we are in negotiations with the club."
According to reports, Cologne want €2 million (Dh10.6m) for the player and will agree to a deal only if they a find a replacement.
Volker Finke, Cologne's sports director, was quoted as saying on the club's website: "We have made it clear that we will only agree to the transfer if we find at least an equivalent replacement for the central defender position and receive an appropriate transfer fee."
Mohamad made the last of his 35 appearances for Lebanon in 2007, when he was suspended by the country's football association for criticising them and the national coach of the time. The FA wanted him to apologise, but the player refused to do so.
At the club level, Mohamad moved to Freiburg from Olympic Beirut in 2004, before switching to Cologne in 2007, where he has played 120 matches.
Kewell, who has played for Leeds United and Liverpool in the English Premier League, was linked to Ahli, with media reports claiming the club had offered him a guaranteed US$4million-a-year (Dh14.68m) contract.
Ahli were also in talks with Maya Yoshida, the Japan centre-back, but the negotiations came to a halt when the 23 year old decided against a move from his Dutch club Venlo.
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Published: August 18, 2011 04:00 AM