Championship-chasing Al Ain endured mixed fortunes on the final day of the winter transfer window by completing a loan move for Egypt midfielder Hussein El Shahat but missing out on marquee signing Ahmed Khalil.
The Garden City club, joint top of the Arabian Gulf League as the second half of the season resumed this week, were expected to confirm Khalil’s arrival before Monday’s 5pm deadline.
However, complications regarding the paperwork meant the transfer was not cleared by the UAE Football Association, leaving the national team striker’s immediate future unclear. Khalil last played a competitive domestic match in late September, but has since been involved in a contractual dispute with employers Al Jazira.
There was some good news for Al Ain, though, after they sealed a six-month deal for El Shahat, who joins from Egyptian side Misr Lel Makkasa. The versatile midfielder, 26, had netted nine times in this season’s Egyptian Premier League. He replaces in the Al Ain squad Brazilian forward Douglas.
“I’m well aware of what is required of me in this new challenge,” El Shahat said. “Together with my teammates, we will defend Al Ain’s status as one of the best teams in Asia and the Middle East.
"I would like to thank the Al Ain management and team manager Zoran Mamic for putting their trust in me. I would also like to thank the management of the Misr Lel Makkasa for allowing me to enter a new challenge in the Arabian Gulf League with the UAE's lead club.”
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Elsewhere, UAE champions Jazira signed Oman’s Gulf Cup-winning duo Mohammed Al Musallami and Harib Al Saadi. The acquisitions of centre-back Al Musallami and midfielder Al Saadi are expected to be confirmed by Jazira on Tuesday. In all, the FA reported that 52 transfers were completed by Arabian Gulf League clubs during the window.