Al Nasr whiff on Hugo Almeida: AGL transfer flurries ahead of window close

With the domestic transfer window closing on October 2, Arabian Gulf League clubs are scrambling to alter and fill out their foreign contingents.

Hugo Almeida controls the ball against Ireland during an international friendly in June. Bill Kostroun / AP / June 10, 2014
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DUBAI // Al Ahli have confirmed they are in talks with several foreign players and are confident of bringing in a replacement for the injured Ciel before the transfer window closes on Thursday.

Ciel suffered a fractured ankle in the defending champions’ opening Arabian Gulf League match at Sharjah, after being wrestled to the ground by Shahin Abdulrahman, and is expected to be out of action for six months.

Hugo Viana was brought back as an emergency replacement for the Brazilian, but with several strong options in midfield, the Portuguese star is deemed excess to needs and the club are considering other players.

“We have looked at several names and we hope, on our part, to complete the negotiations over the next few days,” Ahmed Khalifa Hammad, Ahli’s chief executive, said at a press conference to welcome Essa Ahmed from Al Wahda, without revealing names.

“We do not have a lot of time since we are approaching the end of the transfer window, but we have certain specifications for the player we need. We are certainly flattered with names we have been associated with in recent times, but we are only looking at players who can help us in meeting our aspirations, which is to compete for every title this season.”

Viana, who played a crucial role in Ahli’s championship last season, made his first start of the season at Al Wasl on Friday and looked impressive in the 5-1 win, but he clearly does not feature in coach Cosmin Olaroiu’s plans, with the coach having greater confidence in his Romanian compatriot Mirel Radoi.

“Hugo is an outstanding player and showed a good level,” Olaroiu said after the win at Wasl. “But we have a large number of players for the same position in the team, players like Habib Fardan.”

Sharjah have also returned to the transfer market as their Brazilian striker Luan has been ruled out for a minimum of six months with a ruptured Achilles tendon.

Luan, suffered the injury in the 4-2 win over Kalba on Friday and is the second Sharjah player to be forced out of action this summer. Fellype Gabriel, their star of last season, suffered a major knee injury during the team’s pre-season camp in Germany. Leonardo Lima was brought in from Al Nasr as a replacement.

Dhafra, meanwhile, are in talks with their former Moroccan midfielder Kamel Chafni as they seek a replacement for their Brazilian striker Paulinho.

Not very happy with the performance of their two new foreign players, Paulinho and Argentine Matias Defederico, the club have decided to lay them off and have signed Moroccan winger Youssef Kaddioui as one of the two replacements.

Chafni had a good season with Dhafra in 2013/14 and helped them reach the semi-finals of the President’s Cup.

Al Nasr’s bid to sign Portuguese international Hugo Almeida has ended in failure and the Dubai club are now looking at their other options as they seek a replacement for suspended Senegalese striker Ibrahima Toure.

Almeida, who is a free agent after turning down Turkish club Beisktas’s offer for an extension, arrived in Dubai on Friday night and looked set to sign a one-year contract, but talks broke off after the two sides failed to reach an agreement on the financial aspects of the deal.

According to club sources, Nasr have several names on their list, including strikers from Brazil, England, Spain, Italy and Romania.

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