Sharjah: Egyptian midfielder Amr Al Sulaya arrived in the UAE on Monday, where he is expected to join newly-promoted Al Shaab in a reported US$900,000 (Dh3.3 million) move from Egyptian Premier League side Ismaily.
The 25-year-old, who has scored 15 goals in a 123 appearances for ‘The Yellow Dragons’ since 2009, agreed to a $300,000 (Dh1.1 million) annual salary and will now undergo a medical before signing for the Arabian Gulf League minnows in the coming hours.
If successful, Al Sulaya - who also has 19 caps for the Egyptian national team since 2010 – will complete The Commando’s foreign quartet. Egyptian coach Tarek Al Ashry has already signed Brazilian-East Timorese defender Celio Santos from Iran’s Tractor Sazi and Chilean midfielder Matias Donoso from Chile’s Cobresal, while retaining the services of French striker Michel N’Dri.
Elsewhere, Emirates Club are said to be considering a move for Senegalese striker Ebrahima Toure, who is surplus to requirement at Al Nasr following the arrival of Brazilian striker Nilmar from Internacional.
The Ras Al Khaimah outfit only have one foreign slot to fill after signing Australian midfielder Brett Holman from Al Nasr and Brazilian forward Rodrigo Pimpao from Botafogo, after having retained Moroccan defender Essam Erraki.
Emirates have also been linked with a Dh3 million move for Colombian striker Wilmar Jordan from China’s Tianjin Teda.
Al Nasr have no foreign vacancies after Burkinabe winger Jonathan Pitroipa’s long awaited move from Al Jazira was confirmed last week. Pitroipa joins Nilmar, Chilean-Palestinian midfielder Luis Jimenez from Al Ahli and retained Brazilian midfielder Renan Garcia.
Besides Al Shaab and Emirates Club, Al Ahli are the only other local club with a foreign vacancy after failing to find a replacement for Moroccan winger Osama Assaidi. The Red Knights have so far only signed Brazilian striker Rodrigo Lima from Benfica and are expected to retain Brazilian striker Everton Ribeiro and South Korean midfielder Kwon Hyung-won. Assaidi and Brazilian striker Ciel are unlikely to be registered for next season.
Meanwhile, the Pro League Committee (PLC), which organizes the Arabian Gulf League, has yet to confirm an expected one-month delay in local league fixtures.
It was announced last week that this December’s Gulf Cup in Kuwait was postponed for a year to allow time for stadium maintenance, meaning local leagues no longer had to start early and take a one-month winter break on account of the eight team international tournament. But now pressure from within Kuwait could see the football association there revert to the original dates, leaving local leagues in limbo until this is confirmed.
The UAE football season was meant to start with the Arabian Gulf Super Cup on August 15, the Arabian Gulf League on August 19 and the Arabian Gulf League Cup on August 27, but this could now be put back until mid-September. Original dates for the Gulf Cup were December 22 to January 4 but this could now occur in December 2016 or January 2017.