Al Wahda spurned by Tiago Alves for Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal in unexpected turn

John McAuley reports Al Wahda's deal for Brazilian Tiago Alves has fallen through, with the 23-year-old now headed to Al Hilal of Riyadh in a shock development.

Al Wahda manager Javier Aguirre. Mona Al Marzooqi / The National
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Al Wahda's deal for Tiago Alves has fallen through, with the Brazilian forward signing for Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal one week after Wahda reported their transfer was almost complete.

Alves, who spent last season on loan at South Korea’s Seongnam FC from parent club Penapolense, arrived in the UAE last Tuesday to undergo a medical and finalise a three-year deal with the Abu Dhabi side. He was then expected to return to South Korea briefly before joining up with the Wahda first team at their training camp in Barcelona.

A statement on Al Wahda’s official website, released last week, said the completion of the deal was imminent.

“The Al Wahda Football Club Company announces that the newly recruited Brazilian Tiago Alves de Lima has passed the medical examination he underwent recently in one of the private hospitals and that the player had left after the completion of the medical exams directly to Korea to finalise his personal matters before moving for good from Seongnam to the Clarets,” the statement read.

“The company will complete the final agreement, which guarantees him to become a player at the club for the next three years.”

However, it emerged late Monday that Alves, 23, had decided to signed for Hilal instead, a bizarre turn of events that the Saudi club confirmed on their official website on Tuesday. Alves agreed to a three-year deal and travelled immediately to Hilal’s training camp in Austria.

Wahda have to therefore return to the transfer market to fill the one final foreign slot for the 206/17 Arabian Gulf League campaign. At present, they have on their books Sebastian Tagliabue, the division's top scorer last season, Jorge Valdivia and Rim Chang-woo.

Meanwhile, Emirates club have completed their foreign contingent with the addition of Sebastian Saez, the Argentine striker from Qatar’s Al Wakrah. Saez scored 16 goals in the Qatar Stars League last season to help Wakrah avoid relegation.

Elsewhere, Mohammed Fawzi's long-anticipated switch from Al Ain to Al Jazira was confirmed on Tuesday. UAE international right-back Fawzi, 26, will join up with his new teammates next week after the conclusion of national team's training camp in Spain.

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