Al Ahli sign ex-Barcelona & Chelsea star Quaresma
Al Ahli have pulled off a sensational coup with the signing of former Barcelona and Inter Milan winger Ricardo Quaresma.
The Dubai club's chairman Abdulla Al Naboodah confirmed the signing via Twitter on Monday evening, with an official announcement from the club expected within the next 24 hours.
Quaresma, who has 35 caps for Portugal, has put pen-to-paper on an 18-month deal with the option of a further 12 months should he impress. He will wear the No73 shirt.
Sport360° understands the deal was agreed as early as Sunday for the much-travelled wideman, who counts Sporting Lisbon, Porto, Chelsea and Beskitas among his former clubs.
Ahli's director of football Roy Aitken confirmed the club's move for the 29-year-old, who was last week linked with a move to Liverpool, and said the journeyman winger is likely to be Ahli’s only addition this winter.
With Ahli’s foreign quota already filled by top scorer Grafite, Luis Jimenez and Achille Emana, Aitken also revealed that the club will be announcing which foreign player will leave the Rashid Stadium in to make way for Quaresma by the end of the week.
“With Quaresma's arrival, someone will have to go. I’m not going to comment on that at the moment, but we’ll know about that at the end of the week," he told Sport360°.
"He’s the only one we’re looking at, other players have been mentioned, he’s the only one we’re working on at the moment.”
With one foreign player having to make way for Quaresma, he focus will now turn to which to player is sacrificed to make way for the club's new blockbuster recruit, with Cameroonian Achille Emana the likliest to make way.
The signing of Quaresma, a free agent since being released by Beskitas last month, is a real statement of intent by third-placed Ahli as they chase a first league crown since 2009.
Interestingly, Quaresma is a client of Portuguese super agent Jorge Mendes, who was in Dubai over the festive period speaking at the Dubai Sports Conference.
With Sanchez Flores also in Mendes' stable and the Ahli manager himself admitting to having dinner with his agent and Jose Mourinho on their recent visit to the UAE, one could assume Quaresma's deal was brokered at that stage.
Either way his addition to the Pro League is a welcome one with Ahli fans hoping his arrival can act as the catalyst to a sustained title challenge from their side in the second half of the season.