Abu Dhabi: Al Jazira coach Henk ten Cate chose to remain tight lipped on potential big winter signing Leonardo.
The Brazilian is set to switch loyalties from 2016 AFC Champions League title winners Jeonbuk Hyundai Motors.
“I know nothing about Leonardo to be honest and it is nothing about my business. Other people within the club who focus on this and I want to focus on the Al Wahda game in the President’s Cup.
“I don’t want to speak about Leonardo because he is not important for me at all. But something else every good player is welcome in Al Jazira and this club is full of surprises so you never know,” said ten Cate.
Leonardo was instrumental in guiding Jeonbuk to their second continental crown in November. He joined Jeonbuk in 2012 from Greek side AEK Athens and led the team to 2014 and 2015 K-League Classic titles.
In the AFC Champions League, Leonardo went on to notch ten goals and was the second highest scorer of the tournament behind FC Seoul’s Adriano. He was the highest paid player with an annual salary of $1.42 million (Dh5.2 million) in the K-League.
Al Jazira, who are currently at the top of the Arabian Gulf League with 29 points, have other foreign recruits in Brazilian Ailton Almeida, Moroccan Mbark Boussoufa, South Korean Park Jong-woo and another Brazilian Joao Carlos. It will be interesting to see who makes way for Leonardo.
Al Jazira have also qualified for the 2017 Asian Champions League and are drawn in Group B where they will meet Iran’s Esteghlal Khouzestan, Lekhwiya from Qatar and a play-off winner.
On Monday, Al Wahda announced the winter signing of goalkeeper Rashid Ali from Al Wasl Club.
Coach Javier Aguirre said: “He is in good shape and happy with his arrival and now we have four very good goalkeepers in the squad and of course he can play. I have to decide on who will play but of course he can play the next match. I have two days to decide that.”
Ali said: “I’m very happy to join Al Wahda and I hope we can perform very well as a team.
“The club is one of the biggest in the UAE and they have very good players in the squad. I’m honoured to be here.”
Both Al Jazira and Al Wahda will be involved in a President’s Cup derby clash on Wednesday at Al Wasl Club’s Zabeel Stadium.
At Sharjah, manager Giorgios Donis has been sacked and replaced by former Wahda boss Jose Peseiro.