Al Jazira set an example letting Essa join Al Ain
Al Jazira have allowed their international goalkeeper Khalid Essa to move to rivals Al Ain, with the club claiming they are setting an example and helping the UAE national team.
For both club and country, Essa has spent the last few years behind Ali Khaseif in the pecking order and the ‘keeper has previously acknowledged that he would have to leave the Abu Dhabi club in order to fulfil his potential.
The reigning Pro League champions beat off competition from Bani Yas and Al Ahli to sign the highly-rated 23-year-old. Details of the transfer remain undisclosed, although the club insisted that the goalkeeper did not move on a free.
Al Jazira board member Mohammad Al Hamlli claims the decision was made with the bigger picture in mind – to help the player, the national team and to set an example in the league.
“Al Jazira is always looking out for the benefits of the national team,” Al Hamlli told Sport360°. “When you have more than three or four good goalkeepers in the league, it can only benefit the national team.
“The club was also thinking about the player himself and his future. It is a professional reality now, you can’t stop a player from transferring – it’s a professional thing.
“Al Jazira wish Khalid all the best. He is a son of Al Jazira, he was raised here, he has been at the club since he was 11 years old and he is one of the many players that have graduated out of the academy.
“He reached the first team and he showed what he can do. More than that, he showed respect for himself, he showed respect for the club, for football and he showed what a good mentality he has.
“Al Jazira has given good example about not just keeping good players at one team. As a professional league, the player can play for many teams, not just one for the rest of his professional life. We can see that in Europe, and Al Jazira are setting that example here.
“We are showing that a good player can transfer from one good club to another, not just players going from small clubs to big clubs. We saw Cristiano Ronaldo go from Manchester United to Real Madrid, it’s the same.
“We are setting an example that we are starting to think in a professional way, thinking of the big picture.”
As one young talent leaves another arrives at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium after the club completed the signing of Khalfan Mubarak transferred from Al Ahli.
Mubarak was previously described by former Ahli manager Quique Sanchez Flores as a “genius” and has already tasted first-team action as a 17-year-old.