Dubai: The President of Al Ahli Club has admitted that the club will have to come up with a marquee signing soon as the Red Knights’ approach to lure Brazilian star Luis Adriano fell through earlier this week.

Abdullah Al Naboodah, President, Al Ahli said that he was hopeful of a big signing soon, even as “early as within this week”.

“We can’t afford to waste time. We do not have the time. We need a striker as soon as possible,” Al Naboodah told Gulf News during the road cycle races held as part of the Third Nad Al Sheba (NAS) Ramadan Sports late on Friday.

“Yes, I’ve heard that he [Luis Adriano] has agreed to sign for Milan,” Al Naboodah said in answer to a query.

The Red Knights’ president had announced last week via Twitter that all formalities had been completed in bringing the former Shakhtar Donestsk star to the Al Ghusais club this season. However, it was announced on Friday that the Brazilian player born in Porto Alegre had agreed to a £5.7 million (Dh32.6 million) salary while joining AC Milan.

Adriano leaves the Ukrainian side as the club’s all-time leading goalscorer with 129 goals, including nine in last season’s Uefa Champions League. Only Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi and Neymar have managed more goals in Europe’s elite club competition last year with 10 apiece.

“We tried our best to get his signature, but did not succeed. We need to move on now. For certain, we need a striker and we need to finish all these formalities as soon as we can,” Al Naboodah said. “We should be having some sort of news in the next few days,” he added.

With the Adriano deal falling through, the buzz is that former Togo and Tottenham Hotspur star Emmanuel Adebayor is now being wooed by Al Ahli.

Coach Cosmin Olaroiu is all set to return later this week before players start reporting for pre-season medical checks on July 10. The team will depart for a summer training camp in France after the Eid break.

Al Ahli’s first major assignment will be their Asian Champions League quarter-final away against Naft of Iran on August 26 and the return leg at home on September 16. Al Ahli have already released Luiz Jimenez to cross-city neighbours Al Nasr, while retaining South Korean Kwon Kyung-won and Brazilian Everton Ribeiro along with the injured Jociel da Silva.