Gyan respect

Al Ain said they could not stand in Asamoah Gyan?s way as the striker sought to continue his career in China with Shanghai SIPG.

The Arabian Gulf League champions wished the Ghanaian farewell at the Khalifa International Stadium on Tuesday night, after they accepted a substantial offer from the Chinese Super League side, reported to be almost ?20 million (Dh81m).

Gyan, who spent four hugely successful seasons at Al Ain, said his goodbyes to the management and staff before flying to Shanghai, where he is expected to finalise a three-year deal on Wednesday worth approximately ?250,000 per week in salary. SIPG are currently second in the Chinese top flight an face Shanghai face Guangzhou R&F on Wednesday.

Gyan, 29, was visibly upset when he departed the Garden City side, though, as he closed his finest chapter in club football. During his time in the UAE, he helped Al Ain to three league titles and one President?s Cup crown, scoring 95 goals in 83 league matches to clinch the division?s Golden Boot three times. Last year, he also top-scored in the Asian Champions League to fire Al Ain to the semi-finals.

Speaking immediately following Gyan?s departure, Mohammed bin Bdoua, an Al Ain board member, said: ?We respect Gyan?s desire to leave to go to a new challenge in the Far East, which is in line with the policy of Al Ain Club, who do not usually stand in the way of any player?s ambitions to continue their career anywhere in the world.

?If we rejected the player?s request it may have impacted on his performance with the team in the coming seasons, and because he had achieved so much with us in these past four years, plus the good relationship he had with the club, we respected his decision, like we do with all players, foreign or local.?

Bin Bdoua said the decision was taken and the transfer ratified within three days. Al Ain have already begun the search for Gyan?s replacement, the only foreign slot needed to be filled since they also announced on Tuesday the signing of Fellipe Bastos from Vasco da Gama.

The Brazilian midfielder, who spent the past year on loan at Gremio, takes the spot vacated by Jires Kembo Ekoko. At present, Al Ain have Bastos, Lee Myung-joo and Ryan Babel, the former Liverpool forward recruited last week, as coach Zlatko Dalic seeks to both retain the Arabian Gulf League trophy and mount a challenge for the 2016 Champions League.

?We wish success to all the players who will defend the club logo next season,? Bin Bdoua said. ?We have succeeded finally in signing Ryan Babel, who was an option for the coach since last season, and then Felipe Bastos arrived today. It?s very difficult to judge any player before they?ve actually played for Al Ain, but we hope they are successful.?

Al Ain have been linked with a number of players to succeed Gyan, with reports suggesting Emmanuel Emenike, the Nigerian at Turkey?s Fenerbahce, is their No 1 target. Eduardo Vargas, the Chilean who recently finished joint-top scorer at the Copa America and helped his country claim the South American showpiece with victory over Argentina, is rumoured to be another option. Vargas, 25, is on the books of Italian club Napoli but spent last season on loan at Queens Park Rangers, who were relegated from the Premier League.

Bin Bdoua said: ?The only thing I?m certain about is that Gyan?s alternative will be a great player who will have just as much quality. We?re always confident in whomever we choose. But for the foreign players to be successful it?s essential they have good local players to complement them. And Al Ain have a good quality of locals.?


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