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Al Ahli 'not getting rid' of Bance

Move to loan striker to Qatar's Umm Salal is to make way for foreign midfielder, Hammad says

Aristide Bance
Image Credit: Atiq-Ur-Rehman/Gulf News
Aristide Bance, who scored 13 goals in the Bundesliga with Mainz and attracted interest from Blackburn, has now been sent out on loan.
Gulf News

Dubai: The early loan move of Al Ahli striker Aristide Bance to Qatar's Umm Salal, "is to make way for a foreign midfielder" and "is not a matter of getting rid" of the Cote de Ivorian-born, Burkinabe-national, defended Al Ahli CEO Ahmad Hammad.

Bance, 26, was David O'Leary's first and only (self-picked) summer signing a mere five months ago, but after just two goals from seven league starts, the man who bagged 13 in the Bundesliga with Mainz and attracted interest from EPL Blackburn, has now been scrupulously tossed aside.

Injury and suspension set the tone for his beleaguered league form but four goals in five cup matches and two in two reserve games was thought to be enough to save the striker from an axeing.

Hammad said, "We had a good offer from Umm Salal and it was of financial benefit to the club — but Bance will be back in six months."

Given the three foreign player allowance Hammad confirmed Italian and Brazilian stars Cannavaro and Pinga would stay, but Bance's departure was necessary to make way for a foreign midfielder in order to bolster Al Ahli who share third spot with Al Wasl.

"It's not a matter of getting rid of anybody and it's not a problem of not scoring enough goals, his replacement will be of a completely different position."

Hammad continued, "We felt we need to strengthen our centre midfield. With Esmail Hammadi, Faisal and Ahmed Khalil we felt our strike-force was strong enough."

"We are currently looking into an array of foreign centre midfielders and their signing will be finalised and announced before the end of the transfer window."

When Bance joined in August, O'Leary had said, "what I like about him is he's still young, he has the ability to grow with the club and become a better player who could go on to be sold at a profit. He's my first and only signing made personally so if he's a success I'll take the praise but if he's a failure I'll take the blame."