Transfer watch: Asia's latest ins & outs
Kuala Lumpur: While most of the football news over the past few weeks has centred around the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, the transfer window has opened in some countries and business is underway. The-AFC.com picks out some of the biggest movers in recent weeks.
China PR's Shandong Luneng Taishan FC has announced signing forward Roger Guedes for a one season. The 21-year-old Brazilian began his career with Criciuma in 2014, then transferred to Palmeiras to play in Brazil's top league two years later before moving to Atletico Mineiro on loan.
The Jinan-based club are currently second on the Chinese Super League, tied with Shanghai SIPG at 23 points, and Guedes will look to keep Shandong in position to qualify for the 2019 AFC Champions League.
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19-year-old Australian international Alex Chidiac will spend the 2018-19 season with Atlético Madrid Fememino, having joined the Spanish champions from hometown club Adelaide United.
The move is the latest success in what has been a memorable year for Chidiac. She scored her first senior international goal against Thailand in March, and started in two of Australia's matches at the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup in Jordan.
Earlier this week she played a key role in the Australian U-20 national team's second-place finished at the AFF Women's Championship in Indonesia, scoring seven goals.
Al Ain Club has announced on Friday 13th July that young striker Ali Eid, 20, has been officially transferred to Croatia’s Dinamo Zagreb for one season on loan.
2006 AFC Player of the Year Khalfan Ibrahim has confirmed signing with Qatar's Al Rayyan from Al Arabi.
The 30-year-old Qatari international is well known at home, having made a name for himself playing exclusively for Al Sadd for over 13 years, earning four Qatar Stars League titles, three Qatar Emir Cup crowns, as well as an AFC Champions League title in 2011 and a third place finish in the 2011 FIFA Club World Cup.
Trevor Morgan has been named Australia's U-16 coach, ahead of the AFC U-16 Championship Malaysia 2018 in September.
Morgan and his staff will attend two camps held in Australia with the first taking place from July 13 to 19, to identify and recruit his squad aiming at a top four finish, who will then represent Asia at the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Peru.
Thailand ace Chanathip Songkrasin will join J1 League outfit Hokkaido Consadole Sapporo permanently after his current loan deal from Muangthong United FC expires at the end of the season.
Nabil Maâloul replaced Djamel Belmadi as Al Duhail's head coach, with the club citing 'special reasons' for Belmadi's departure.
Maâloul, a former professional football player and Tunisia manager, will now join the team for a training camp in Austria, ahead of their 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-finals first leg tie with Islamic Republic of Iran's Persepolis on August 28.
Australian defender Rhys Williams has left Melbourne Victory to join Saudi Arabian club Al Qadsiah on Thursday.
Williams started his career with Middlesbrough, spending eight seasons with the English club, which included loans spells with Burnley and Charlton Athletic before moving back home to the A-League with Perth Glory for the 2016-17 season.
Williams joined Kevin Muscat's side last season and featured prominently, making 32 appearances in all competitions. He picked up his first medal of his career when Victory claimed their fourth championship after beating Newcastle Jets 1-0 in the Grand Final earlier this year.
With the move to the Middle East, the 29-year-old will be eager to get back into the Australia squad ahead of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
Qatar’s Al Ahli SC announced the signings of Netherlands international Nigel de Jong and Islamic Republic of Iran’s Omid Ebrahimi from 1. FSV Mainz 05 and Esteghlal FC respectively.
de Jong has played prominently with Hamburger SV, Manchester City, AC Milan and LA Galaxy, and is highly regarded back home after a second place finish in the 2010 FIFA World Cup and third place in the next edition in Brazil.
The Amsterdam-born is joined at the midfield with Ebrahimi, who made waves playing for IR Iran's Sepahan FC and Esteghlal FC. Ebrahimi also featured in all three matches of Team Melli's 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia group stage campaign.
Spain icon Fernando Torres joins compatriot Andres Iniesta in Japan, after the striker revealed he has agreed to join J.League club Sagan Tosu.
The 34-year-old previously had stints at Liverpool, Chelsea, AC Milan in between two spells at his beloved Atletico Madrid.
Han Eui-kwon, Park Jong-woo and Elvis Saric has signed with Korea Republic's Suwon Samsung Bluewings, bolstering their squad ahead of the 2018 AFC Champions League.
At the Continental stage, Suwon advanced to the 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-finals after beating Ulsan Hyundai 3-1 on aggregate and are set to face rivals Jeonbuk in the first leg on August 29 as they bid for a third title.
Two-time AFC Champions League winners Al Ittihad have announced the signing of Australia international Matthew Jurman from Korea Republic side Suwon Samsung Bluewings. The former Sydney FC defender, 28, has signed a two-year deal with the Saudi club.
Chinese Super League powerhouse Guangzhou Evergrande also kicked off the week with a bang with the announcement of the return of Brazil midfielder Paulinho from Spanish heavyweights FC Barcelona.
The Brazilian helped Guangzhou to the 2015 AFC Champions League title before joining the Catalan club in the summer of 2017. The 29-year-old played in all five of Brazil's matches at Russia 2018.
The 24-year-old joins the Serbian powerhouse from Japanese outfit Yokohama F. Marinos, where he made 43 appearances after signing on in 2017.
He will be available to Belgrade manager Vladan Milojevic immediately, and could be in line to debut in the first leg of the club's UEFA Champions League qualifying round tie against Latvian club FK Spartaks Jurmala, which kicks off on July 11.
Akira Nishino will step down as Japan's Head Coach at the end of July, he announced in a press conference.
The Japan Football Association Technical Director took over the reins from Vahid Halilhodzic just two months before their 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign.
Under his leadership, the Samurai Blue reached the Round of 16 as Group H runners-up, and despite stunning Belgium with a 2-0 lead in the 52nd minute, the Europeans came back to claim a 3-2 win.
Former Argentina international Rodolfo Arruabarrena (above) will helm Qatar's Al Rayyan SC in the next season of the Qatar Stars League, replacing Michael Laudrup.
The 42-year-old former professional player has managed Club Atletico Tigre, Club Nacional de Football and Club Atletico Boca Juniors in the Argentine Primera Division before moving to the United Arab Emirates' Al Wasl FC in 2016.
Al Rayyan finished third in the 2017-18 season, securing qualification to the 2019 AFC Champions League Play-off round.
Australia's Ben Halloran has terminated his contract with J.League's V-Varen Nagasaki, citing 'family circumstances'.
Prior to his move to Japan, the Socceroos international played for Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2013 before moving to FC Heidenheim in 2015 in the German second division.
Kitchee SC brings in Mohamed Sissoko from Atletico San Luis of Mexico. The Malian defender comes with a wealth of experience to the Hong Kong-based club, having played in the English Premier League with Liverpool, Serie A's Juventus and French side Paris Saint-Germain FC, among others.
This would mark Sissoko's return to the Asian football scene. In 2015, the 33-year-old joined the Chinese Super League's Shanghai Shenhua, before moving to FC Pune City in India a year later, as well as a short stint with Indonesia's Mitra Kukar.
Al Nasr confirmed the transfer of former France international Yohan Cabaye from Crystal Palace on a two-year deal. The capture of the talented midfielder is a big boost to the Emirati club's hopes of a place at the 2019 AFC Champions League, with the Dubai side set to take part in next year's play-offs.
تعاقد | ✍— AL NASR FC (@ALNasrSC) July 3, 2018
شركة #النصر_لكرة_القدم تتعاقد رسمياً مع لاعب الوسط الفرنسي "يوهان كاباي" ، القادم من نادي كريستال بالاس الإنجليزي ، في عقدٍ يستمر لمدة موسمين ، وسيرتدي اللاعب القميص رقم 7 💙 pic.twitter.com/6Wwgcou8NE
Al Sadd pulled off another huge coup by signing midfielder Gabi Fernandez from Atletico Madrid. The Spanish star signed a two-year contract with the club on Monday evening and will now join his countryman Xavi and fellow new signing Jung Woo-young in the Al Sadd midfield.
English Premier League side Newcastle United signed Korea Republic captain Ki Sung-yueng from Swansea City on a two-year deal. "I'm pleased to welcome Ki to the club," said Newcastle coach Rafael Benítez. "He is the captain of his country, a good character and he will be a good addition to the squad."
Korea Republic midfielder Jung Woo-young sealed a move to AFC Champions League quarter-finalists Al Sadd just a day after playing in his side's historic 2-0 win over Germany at the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The 28-year-old joins from Japanese side Vissel Kobe.
The Saudi Arabian Football Federation announced the extension of national team coach Juan Antonio Pizzi's contract, which will see the Chilean in charge of the Green Falcons until the end of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019.
2014 AFC Champions League winner Matthew Spiranovic linked up with former Western Sydney Wanderers boss Tony Popovic at new club Perth Glory, signing a one-year contract with the Western Australia club. The centre-back was last in action for China's Hangzhou Greentown.
Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli sign well-travelled Spanish midfielder Jose Manuel Jurado. The 32-year-old numbers the likes of Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Spartak Moscow, Schalke 04 and Watford amongst his former employers.
After six years away, 2012 AFC Player of the Year Lee Keun-ho returned to Ulsan Hyundai, the club where he made his name and lifted the AFC Champions League title. The 33-year-old re-joins the club from Gangwon FC.
"I'll never forget the love and support I had from Ulsan fans," Lee said. "I'll do the best I can to win more love from our supporters."
After a year away from Dubai, United Arab Emirates striker Ahmed Khalil has returned to the Emirate to join Shabab Al Ahli Dubai. The forward signed for Al Jazira last summer before teaming up with Al Ain on a short-term deal in January and winning the UAE Pro League and President's Cup.
The 2015 AFC Player of the Year, 27, was with Al Ahli between 2006 and 2017, and left just before the merger between his former club, Dubai CSC and Al Shabab.
The Philippines confirmed former England international Terry Butcher as their new head coach after Thomas Dooley's contract was not renewed.
Butcher, who has helmed in England, Scotland and Australia, will take charge of the Azkals ahead of the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 after Dooley led them to the continental competition for the first time.
Former Wales and Sunderland boss Chris Coleman was named coach of Chinese side Hebei China Fortune, taking over from Chilean Manuel Pellegrini who moves to the English Premier League to take the helm at West Ham United.
Guangzhou Evergrande have added to their Brazilian contingent by acquiring Talisca (pictured below) on loan from Portuguese club Benfica. The forward had spent the previous two seasons on loan at Turkish side Besiktas, who he helped win the Super Lig in 2017.
Al Hilal have appointed former Benfica and Sporting Lisbon boss Jorge Jesus as their new head coach ahead of the 2018-19 Saudi Pro League season. Jesus won a host of honours at Benfica, including three Primeira Liga titles, and had been at Sporting since 2015.
Cypriot side APOEL FC announced the signing of Jordan international Musa Al Taamari from Al Jazeera, with the attacker joining a team who have won the past six league titles in Cyprus.
Al Taamari’s six goals in the AFC Cup have fired Al Jazeera into the West Zonal final and the 21-year-old will likely be a huge loss for the Amman side.
Vissel Kobe pulled off a major coup in signing FIFA World Cup winner Andres Iniesta after the midfielder left Spanish giants Barcelona following a glittering career that included four UEFA Champions League titles and nine La Liga championships.
Iniesta, who scored the only goal in the 2010 World Cup final, will have a major role to play as his new side chase a first qualification for the AFC Champions League over the second half of the J.League season.
Photos: Getty Images
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