Al Ain new recruit Yannick Boli vowed to let his football do his talking after finalising his transfer from Russia’s Anzhi Makhachkala.
The French-born Ivorian, 29, completed his medical and then agreed to a two-and-a-half year deal with the Garden City club on Monday. A forward, he replaces in the squad Douglas, the much-maligned Brazilian striker.
Boli, was presented to the media late Monday night at the Sheikh Khalifa International Stadium, but said very little in a short press conference. Al Ain, runners-up in the 2016 Asian Champions League and currently second in the Arabian Gulf League, also confirmed that they have decided to withdraw from a deal to sign Saudi Arabia forward Nasser Al Shamrani on loan from Al Hilal.
Speaking briefly at the press conference, Boli said: “I know Al Ain, I researched them on the internet and saw that they won the Asian Champions League in 2003, and that are doing very well in the local league. I don’t want to add anything more. I prefer that you will see my actions inside the pitch.”
Having begun his professional career at Paris Saint-Germain in 2005, Boli was loaned to Ligue 1 side Le Havre three years later, but returned to the French capital after a nine-month spell. He then spent time in the country’s second tier with Nimes Olympique before moving to Bulgarian top-flight club Chernomorets Burgas in 2012.
After a relatively successful season there, Boli made the switch to Ukraine with Zorya Luhansk, where 14 league goals in 29 matches convinced Anzhi to recruit him. He eventually signed in August 2014 and went on the score 26 goals in 62 Russian Premier League appearances.
At Al Ain, Boli completes the squad’s foreign contingent in place of Douglas, who has been heavily criticised by sections of the club’s support this season.
The former Tokushima Vortis frontman, who joined Al Ain last January following a prolific loan spell in Japan’s J-League with Sanfrecce Hiroshima, missed what proved to be a decisive penalty in the Champions League final second leg in November. He has struck only six times in the Arabian Gulf League this campaign.
Al Ain had also considered replacing Danilo Asprilla with Al Shamrani, but Mohammed Obaid Hammad, an Al Ain board member, said: “We apologise to Al Hilal because we did discuss with them to sign Al Shamrani, but now the deal is off.”
Al Ain hope to have Boli available for Thursday night’s league trip to Emirates club. The 12-time champions, runners-up last season, currently trail leaders Al Jazira by one point after 14 rounds.
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