Baniyas have signed Royston Drenthe, the former Real Madrid winger, on a free transfer to complete their foreign contingent.
The Dutch winger, 28, was a free agent after leaving Kayseri Erciyesspor, the Turkish Super Lig side, earlier this summer and has agreed to a one-year deal. He joins Mark Milligan, Joacquin Larrivey and Ishak Belfodil as the Arabian Gulf League club’s expatriate roster for the 2015/16 season.
Drenthe was once considered as one of the Netherlands’ brightest prospects, having broken into the Feyenoord first team in 2005, aged 18. Two years later, he was named best player at the U-21 European Championships as the Netherlands retained their title.
AGL talking points: 'The Magician' makes UAE return, Al Jazira must fix leaky defence
His performances at the tournament earned Drenthe a €14 million (Dh58.2m) transfer to Madrid that summer. However, after scoring a superb goal on debut in the Super Cup clash against Sevilla, his career quickly deteriorated. In four years at the Bernabeu, he made 46 league appearances.
Drenthe, who can play at left-back or further forward, spent spells on loan at Hercules in his homeland and then Premier League side Everton, but neither move was a success. He left Madrid as a free agent in August 2012, and has since represented Alania Vladikavkaz in Russia and English clubs Sheffield Wednesday and Reading.
During his short stay at Erciyesspor, Drenthe scored three goals in 11 league matches. He will hope his switch to Baniyas, who resume their league programme against Dibba on Saturday, provides him the opportunity to reignite his career.
FOLLOW US ON TWITTER @NatSportUAE