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Transfer watch: Asia's latest ins & outs

Kuala Lumpur: With the transfer window open, business is being conducted at a furious pace as teams strengthen ahead of the 2018 AFC Champions League resuming and various national leagues kicking off. picks out some of the biggest movers in recent weeks.

August 26

Islamic Republic of Iran international Saman Ghoddos has signed a five-year contract with French side Amiens SC.

The Swedish-born Iranian began his professional career in Sweden's Division 1 Limhamn Bunkeflo in 2011 and Trelleborg in 2013 before progressing to the Superettan a year later with Syrianska.

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In 2016, the 24-year-old forward made his way to the top tier Allsvenskan with Ostersund in 2016.

Ghoddos, who featured in Team Melli's 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign, scored on his debut for Amiens in their 4-1 win against Stade Reims on Saturday.

August 24

Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr have signed Moroccan international Abderrazak Hamdallah from Al Rayyan of Qatar.

The 27-year-old started his career with his hometown club Olympic Safi in 2010 and transferred to the Norwegian Premier League with Aalesund three years later before travelling to China PR to play for Guangzhou R&F in 2014.

A year later, he made his move to West Asia, joining Qatari club El Jaish where he spent almost three years before a one-year stint with Al Rayyan.

Al Nassr finished fourth in the Saudi Pro League 2017/18, which ensures qualification to the 2019 AFC Champions League play-off round.

The new season of the Saudi Pro League kicks off on August 30.

Meanwhile, Al Hilal continue to bolster their squad ahead of the new Saudi Pro League 2018/19 season, signing French striker Bafétimbi Gomis from Turkey's Galatasaray.

The move marks the 33-year-old's first move to Asia, having only played in Europe, specifically in France with Saint-Etienne, Troyes, Lyon, and Marseille, as well as English Premier League side Swansea City in 2014.

Al Hilal suffered an early exit in the 2018 AFC Champions League but reigned in the previous Saudi Pro League season, claiming a record 15th domestic title that assured them a spot in the 2019 AFC Champions League.

August 23

Sydney FC have signed Dutch international and former AFC Ajax Championship winning captain Siem de Jong as the club’s new marquee on a season long loan.

The attacking midfielder and striker captained the Dutch giants for two seasons, including competing in the UEFA Champions League, and made over 180 appearances for the club over two spells, scoring 61 goals in that time.

De Jong also featured in the English Premier League over two seasons for Newcastle United, named as one of the club’s vice captains, and has also turned out for the Netherlands national team, with former Socceroos boss Bert van Marwijk selecting de Jong in his provisional squad for the UEFA Euro 2012 tournament.

Islamic republic of Iran international Kaveh Rezaei has transferred to Club Brugge of Belgium on a four-year deal from Sporting Charleroi.

The 26-year-old forward, who missed out on Team Melli's 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign, spent over a year with Sporting Charleroi since 2017 and scored 19 goals in 45 games.

August 17

Sydney FC has signed former English Premier League striker Adam Le Fondre.

The 31-year-old hitman has signed a multi-year deal with the Sky Blues after he was released by English Championship outfit Bolton Wanderers.

Le Fondre plays as a centre forward and will be tasked with taking the place of 2017-18 A-League golden boot winner Bobo, who struck 27 goals in 28 games as the Sky Blues stormed to the Premiers Plate by 14 points.

The Englishman, affectionately known as ALF or Alfie, scored 41 goals in 110 appearances for the Royals across the Premier League and Championship in one of the most prolific spells in his career.

Socceroos midfielder Daniel Arzani has signed a two-year loan deal with Celtic FC from Manchester City.

The highly-rated 19-year-old, who played for his country at the recent 2018 FIFA World Cup tournament in Russia, made the move from Melbourne City to Manchester City, but will now spend the next two years at Paradise.

And the attacking midfielder is looking forward to pulling on the green and white Hoops and helping the team in the campaigns ahead.

August 16

DPR Korea striker Han Kwang-son has been loaned back by Serie A side Cagliari to Serie B club Perugia, both teams confirmed on Wednesday.

The 19-year-old, the first DPR Korea player to play in Serie A for Cagliari in 2017, spent half of last season on loan with Perugia, scoring a hat-trick on his debut for a total of seven goals in 17 Serie B games for the central Italian side.

He then returned to Sardinia in January, where he played seven Serie A games helping the Mediterranean island team maintain their top flight status, with his contract extended by five years until June 2023.

"This is a chance for the talented striker to continue the maturing process, playing in a tough league like Serie B and gaining even more experience in Italy," Cagliari said in a statement.

August 15

Cameroon star Samuel Eto'o has signed with Qatar Stars Club.

In 2009, Eto'o won the Champions League with Barcelona playing alongside Xavi Hernandez.

A year later he won Europe's biggest club trophy with Inter, this time in the same side as Sneijder.

In Doha he will play in the number 81 shirt - Eto'o was born in 1981 - and could make his debut as early as Friday when his new team take on Al-Sailiya in the Qatar Stars League (QSL)

August 14

Adelaide United have signed Australian winger Ben Halloran on a two-year contract.

Capped six times by the Socceroos, Halloran joins the Reds after spending the last five years of his career abroad.

The 26-year-old moved to 2. Bundesliga outfit Fortuna Düsseldorf in 2013 after plying his trade with Gold Coast United and then Brisbane Roar.

He scored eight goals and managed five assists in 37 matches with the German club.

In 2015, Halloran transferred to fellow German second division side 1. FC Heidenheim where he would go on to accumulate 56 games and net six goals, before a stint with J-League team V-Varen Nagasaki.

Halloran, who made three substitute appearances for the Socceroos at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, can operate as a forward, as an attacking midfielder, or as a winger.

Halloran said he was thrilled to reach an agreement with Adelaide and was looking forward to a successful time with the Club.

“It feels great to be joining Adelaide United,” Halloran told the club's official website.

“I’m keen to be back in the A-League and the Aussie camaraderie and mateship that’s within an Aussie team is very unique.

“I’m looking forward to being part of that again.

“Coming back to Australia I’d have to say I’m a more well-rounded footballer and playing in Germany and playing in Japan they’re both quite high level, which helps a lot.

“To date, I’m yet to win any silverware so I definitely have ambitions of coming to Adelaide to win something and to win the FFA Cup would be a great start.

“I obviously want to be as successful as I can in the A-League as well and that would mean winning the Championship.”

Reds Head Coach Marco Kurz lauded the capture of Halloran and said he will be a substantial addition to the squad.

“I am very happy that we have been able to sign Ben for the next two seasons,” Kurz said.

“He is a very versatile attacking player that will be important for us in the new season.

Halloran will take the number 26 shirt and brings Kurz’s squad to 25 contracted players for the 2018/19 season.

August 9

Korea Republic striker Suk Hyun-jun has signed a four-year contract with French side Stade de Reims, wearing the No.10 jersey for the newly promoted Ligue 1 club.

Stade de Reims will be the 27-year-old's 11th club. Suk made his debut with Dutch giants AFC Ajax in 2009, and later had stints in Portugal, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Hungary.

Australian international Daniel Arzani has signed with English Premier League champions Manchester City from Melbourne City.

The 19-year-old midfielder recently featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia campaign last summer, and became Australia's youngest Socceroos player to be featured in the World Cup.

Emirati star Omar Abdulrahman has moved to Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal on a one-year loan.

The UAE star joins Portugese coach Jorge Jesus, along with Peruvian winger Andre Carrillo, who featured prominently in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and 2017 AFC Player of the Year Omar Khribin.

Socceroos left-back Brad Smith has been confirmed as a new Seattle Sounder, joining the Major League Soccer club on a season-long loan from AFC Bournemouth.

“I am delighted to be here,” Smith said. “The move happened quite quickly but once I heard a massive club like Seattle were interested I couldn’t wait to come out here."

Already set to make his debut for the club this weekend — against FC Dallas, Smith has impressed thanks to his pace and directness.

Smith, capped 19 times for the Socceroos, played a key role in the team qualifying for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and Sounders general manager Garth Lagerwey is excited by his potential.

“We wanted to add some speed and power to our team and Brad has got that,” Lagerwey said.

“Brad is a guy that can play left-wing or left-back and comfortable in both positions and that is something we didn’t have.

“We felt he was a player that played well when he got a chance at Bournemouth and I think his personality is something that is really going to add to the group.”

Australia's Bernie Ibini has transferred to Emirates Club from Major League Soccer's Vancouver Whitecaps FC.

The 25-year-old forward, who made his professional debut with A-League side Central Coast Mariners in 2010, has spent a lot of time overseas with Chinese Super League's Shanghai Dongya in 2013, as well as a season with Belgium's Club Brugge in 2015.

While he was out on loan with Sydney FC in 2016, he assisted the club to the A-League Premiership and Championship.

Senegalese winger Mame Thiam has transferred to the UAE's Ajman Club from Esteghlal FC of Islamic Republic of Iran.

The former Juventus player has played a crucial role in Esteghlal's 2018 AFC Champions League campaign up to the Round of 16, having scored seven goals, and the move means that Mame Thiam would be missing out in the quarter-final first leg clash against Qatar's Al Sadd on August 27.

August 8

Chinese Super League side Chongqing Dangdai Lifan have named Jordi Cruyff as their new head coach.

Cruyff is best remembered for his playing career with Barcelona and Manchester United.

A former midfielder who made nine appearances for the Netherlands, Cruyff replaces Paulo Bento.

Lifan, in southwest China, are 14th in the 16-team CSL with half the season gone.

"I understand the situation of the team, they need to adapt and work quickly, I came here to work immediately from today and bring stability," Cruyff, who will bring in his own backroom staff, told a press conference.

"I believe in the players and the quality that is here, we need to give them confidence, but I see enough potential to get immediate results."

Qatar's Ahmed Yasser has moved to J.League's Vissel Kobe on loan.

The 24-year-old defender made his professional debut with Lekhwiya in 2011, where he stayed for almost seven years before transferring to Al Duhail.

Ever since the 2017 transfer, Yasser has spent most of his time out on loan with Spanish side Cultural Leonesa and previously with Al Rayyan.

Vissel Kobe are currently fifth on the standings, with 29 points.

Esteghlal has confirmed signing Nigerian forward Alhaji Gero from Östersunds FK.

The 24-year-old began his career playing in Nigeria from 2009 but later moved to Sweden in 2013, where he played with Östers IF before transferring to Denmark's Viborg FF.

He then returned to Sweden in 2016 to play in the Allsvenskan with Östersunds FK.

This marks Esteghlal's fifth transfer since July.

United Arab Emirates' Habib Fardan has returned to Al Nasr on a three-year contract from Shabab Al Ahli.

The 27-year-old attacking midfielder began his career with Al Wasl in 2002 before making his senior debut in 2006. Two years later, he joined Al Nasr, where he would spend close to seven years with The Blues.

In 2014, he moved to Al Ahli, who was later merged with Dubai CSC and Al Shabab in 2017, renaming themselves Shabab Al Ahli.

Fardan has also donned the Emirati jersey, most prominently in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia, where the Whites beat Iraq 3-2 to finish third.

Argentinian Jonathan Menendez has moved to Qatar's Al Rayyan on loan from Club Atletico Independiente.

This marks the 24-year-old forward's first move into Asia, having previously played in Spain with Sevilla FC and in the Primera Division with Chacarita Juniors and Talleres de Córdoba, before moving to Atletico Independiente in 2018.

August 7

Australian international Trent Sainsbury has joined Eredivisie's PSV Eindhoven.

Cool defending and intelligent reading of the game helped ensure Sainsbury was one of the first names on the teamsheet during much of the Ange Postecoglou era. Sainsbury suffered the agony of missing a likely 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil squad inclusion through injury, but never looked back after debuting for the national team in September 2014.

The 26-year-old started in every game of the 2015 AFC Asian Cup, scoring a crucial goal in the semi-final against United Arab Emirates and claiming the player of the match award in the final against Korea Republic.

Son-in-law of Australia’s coach Graham Arnold, Sainsbury has played club football in the Netherlands, China PR and briefly in Italy with Inter Milan. Match time was limited for much of the recent club season, although Sainsbury played with his usual aplomb during the Russia 2018 play-offs last October and November.

August 6

Japanese international Keisuke Honda has transferred to A-League side Melbourne Victory from Mexico's Pachuca.

The former AC Milan forward, who retired from international football after Japan's heartbreaking 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia exit in a last-gasp defeat to Belgium, put pen to paper for the 2018/19 season.

Honda shot to fame at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa when his goals helped Japan reach the last 16.

He netted 37 times in 98 appearances for his country and was the first Japanese player to score at three World Cups (2010, 2014, 2018).

Instantly recognisable with his spiky, bleach-blond hair, he spent four seasons at AC Milan and has also played for VVV-Venlo in Holland and CSKA Moscow.

August 4

Scottish Premiership club Hibernian have announced the signing of Socceroo Jamie Maclaren on a season-long loan from German club SV Darmstadt 98.

The 25-year-old played the back-end of last season in Scotland, scoring eight goals in 13 games for Hibs as they finished fourth in their first season back in the top division.

It was that good form which saw Maclaren picked for the Socceroos 23-man squad which travelled to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup, but he didn't see any game time.

With the AFC Asian Cup UAE 2019 on the horizon, Maclaren will be hoping that he can play himself into a position where he can't be overlooked by new Australia boss Graham Arnold.

“A few factors drove me to come back," said Maclaren, speaking to club media.

"With the success that we had last season it just breeds confidence throughout the squad and, for me, scoring goals was important.

“After having the World Cup experience I want to kick on. This is the best club for me to be at to kick on.

“I think having a manager like Neil Lennon who backs me and every player in the squad, that’s who you want to play for. And the fans have also been on at me on social media since the break, so it’s nice to be wanted and valued.

“I’m just glad I’m here.”

Chinese international Wang Shuang has transferred to Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal.

The 23-year-old joins the 2017-18 Division 1 Féminine runners-up, where she will link up with international stars such as Brazil's Formiga and Spain's Jennifer Hermoso as the club participate in the UEFA Women's Champions League.

August 3

Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr FC have confirmed signing former Leicester City forward Ahmed Musa on a four-year contract.

The 25-year-old Nigerian international made his professional debut with Nigeria's GBS Football Academy in 2008, before moving to the Netherlands to play in the Eredivisie with VVV-Venlo two year later.

Musa then began to shine when transferred to Russia's CSKA Moscow, where he assisted the club to three Russian premier Leagues, a Russian Cup in 2013 and two Russian Super Cup.

He was also named the Russian Cup Top Scorer in the 2012-13 season.

By 2016, Musa signed with English Premier League side Leicester City but was loaned back to CSKA Moscow in early 2018.

Musa marks the third transfer for Al Nassr, who recently signed Australian ‘keeper Brad Jones and Netherlands-born Moroccan international Nordin Amrabat.

August 2

Tractorsazi Tabriz have announced the signings of Islamic Republic of Iran internationals Ashkan Dejagah and Masoud Shojaei.

Dejagah took his first steps in the professional game with German club Hertha Berlin. After excelling with Wolfsburg and Fulham, he then signed for Al Arabi in 2014, spending three years with the Qatari outfit before returning to Europe.

At the international level, Dejagah began making waves at youth level for Germany, winning the UEFA European U-21 Championship title in 2009.

Three years later, he decided to represent IR Iran and enjoyed a dream debut, as he scored twice in Asian Qualifiers for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Brazil. He went on to appear in all three games for Team Melli at the Finals four years ago. He continued to shine for the national team by featuring in 12 Asian Zone qualifiers on the road to Russia 2018.

Meanwhile, Shojaei offers valuable experience, as the only IR Iran player to have taken part in two FIFA World Cup Finals. Limited to 13 minutes of action at Germany 2006, he played all three matches at Brazil 2014.

The 34-year-old midfielder has also enjoyed an eventful club career, spending time in the United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Spain and Greece – thanks to his leadership skills as a captain and excellent vision in midfield.

Humam Tariq has joined Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC on a three-year contract, from Air Force Club of Iraq.

The 22-year-old was promoted from the Air Force Club academy to the senior team, making his professional debut in 2010, where he stayed for three seasons before moving to Saudi Arabia's Al Ahli.

His talent did not go unnoticed, as he was then called up to don the Iraqi jersey in 2012, participating in the AFC U-19 Championship, where Iraq lost to Korea Republic on penalties in the final. They earned a spot in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup.

In 2013, Humam was part of the Iraq squad who bagged the inaugural AFC U-22 Championship (now known as the AFC U23 Championship), and played a part when Iraq earned a fourth place finish at the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia.

Humam then returned to Air Force Club in 2016, bringing a wealth of experience and assisted the club to the Iraq FA Cup the same year, and the Iraqi Premier League title the following year.

At the Continental Club scene, Humam lifted back-to-back AFC Cup trophies in 2016 and 2017 with Air Force Club.

The Falcons will be aiming to create history by becoming the first club to clinch three consecutive AFC Cup titles as they face Jordan’s Al Jazeera in the West Asia Zonal Final first leg on September 18.

Newcastle United has confirmed signing Japanese international Yoshinori Muto from Budesliga side Mainz 05.

The 26-year-old forward – capped 25 times for Japan – started out at hometown club FC Tokyo before moving to Mainz in 2015, and becomes the first Japanese player to sign with the Magpies,

August 1

Islamic Republic of Iran’s Esteghlal FC has confirmed signing Morteza Tabrizi and German-Swiss born Markus Neumayr.

27-year-old Tabrizi has exclusively played only in Iran with Pas Hamedan in 2010, before moving to Zobahan for almost six years, where he assisted the Fuladshahr-based club to back-to-back Hazfi Cup in 2014 and 2015.


Tabrizi will be joined upfront with Neumayr, who made his senior career debut with Manchester United in 2005. Ever since then, the 32-year-old attacking midfielder has garnered experience playing in Germany, Belgium, Switzerland and Turkey.

Esteghlal finished their previous Iran Pro league season third on standings, clinching a direct qualification to the 2019 AFC Champions League group stage.

Despite a slow start to their 2018-19 season, Winfried Schafer’s charges will look to repeat their success with a bolstered squad.

However, Esteghlal would first direct their attention to August 27, where they take on Qatar’s Al Sadd for the first leg of the 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-finals.

Australia’s Jack Duncan has transferred to Saudi Arabia’s Al Qadsiah FC, from Newcastle Jets.

This marks the goalkeeper’s first move out from A-League, having played prominently for Newcastle Jets and Perth Glory.

“I made my A-League debut with jets, the club has given me so much,” revealed Duncan.

“This is a great opportunity to develop my career and one that I couldn’t pass up.”

Meanwhile, Spaniard Xavi Torres has returned home to play for second division Elche, after spending a season with Perth Glory in the A-League.

Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr has also signed Australian ‘keeper Brad Jones on a two-year contract.

The 36-year-old began his professional career with Middlesbrough in 2001 but has spent a majority of his time on loan, before moving to Liverpool in 2010.

In 2016, Jones moved to play in the Eredivise for NEC and Feyenoord.

Al Nassr finished third in the standings of the 2017-19 season of the Saudi Pro League, ensuring qualification to the AFC Champions League Play-off round next year.

July 31

Islamic Republic of Iran's Tractorsazi Tabriz have signed Yukiya Sugita on a three-year deal from Dalkurd FF, becoming the first Japanese to play in the Iran Pro League.

The 25-year-old midfielder has a wealth of experience playing overseas, from his youth career in Japan with Kashiwa Reysol and Sendai University before being scouted to play in Spain for Jove Espanol and Hercules.

In 2016, Sugita transferred to play in Thailand's top-tier league with Pattaya United, and spent a short stint with PTT Rayong in the Thai League 2.

After that, he went on to play for Swedish club Dalkurd FF in 2017, where the team finished second on Superettan and were promoted to Allsvenskan.

Tractorsazi Tabriz opened their 2018-19 season with a goalless draw against Naft Masjed Soleyman on Saturday, and will look towards the Japanese to help better their 10th place finish the previous season.

Emerging Socceroos defender Aleksandar Susnjar has joined seven-time Slovak champions MSK Zilina on a six-month loan from Mlada Boleslav.

The 22-year-old came to prominence when he featured for Australia's U-23 team in January in the 2018 AFC U23 Championship in China PR, before being named in the senior team later in March for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia preliminary squad.

"Even before I came here I learned about the history of Zilina, which is really rich," said Susnjar.

"It's the most successful club in the league and although it currently has a young team, the guys work hard in every training session, which I like.

"It's definitely a step forward for me. I'm at a club with high ambitions."

Islamic Republic of Iran international Seyed Majid Hosseini has transferred to Turkey's Trabzonspor from Esteghlal.

The 22-year-old defender joins fellow compatriot Vahid Amiri, who made his move just two weeks prior.

Hosseini recently featured in Team Melli's Group B campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, and played in their match against Spain and Portugal.

The move, however, meant that Hosseini will be missing out on the 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-final tie between Esteghlal and Qatar's Al Duhail, as the first leg action kicks-off on August 27.

Korea Republic international Lee Jae-sung has revealed he would be moving to Germany's Holstein Kiel in the 2. Bundesliga.

The 25-year-old earned the K League 1 Best Young Player award in 2015 and the MVP honours last season, as he assisted the club to their fifth domestic title. In 2016, Lee was a crucial member of the squad to clinch their third AFC Champions League title.

July 26

Islamic Republic of Iran international veteran Seyyed Jalal Hosseini has decided to extend his commitment with Persepolis in an open contract, stating he would serve the club and bid farewell to his professional career with the Tehran-based club.

Since his return to Persepolis in 2016, the 36-year-old defender has assisted the team to back-to-back Iran Pro League and Iranian Super Cup titles in 2017 and 2018.

On the Continental stage, Hosseini scored a vital 89th minute goal to beat United Arab Emirates’ Al Jazira FSC 2-1, to finish 4-4 on aggregate in the 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16 second leg to claim a spot in the quarter-finals on away goals.

Persepolis will meet Qatari champions Al Duhail on August 28 in their quarter-final first leg tie.

Meanwhile, fellow Iranian compatriot Alireza Jahanbakhsh has joined English Premier League's Brighton on a record deal, from AZ Alkmaar.

Jahanbakhsh's arrival makes him the eighth new player to have joined Brighton in the pre-season following Florin Andone, Leon Balogun, Yves Bissouma, David Button, Bernardo Fernandes da Silva Junior, Jason Steele and Percy Tau.


July 25

Japan’s Kashima Antlers have confirmed that Mu Kanazaki has transferred to J.League rivals Sagan Tosu.

The prolific forward began his professional career with Oita Trinita in 2007, where he earned his first silverware in 2008, claiming the J.League Cup and was also named the J.League Cup New Hero.

In 2010, he transferred to Nagoya Grampus for three seasons and assisted the club to a J1 League title in 2010 as well as a Japanese Super Cup the following year.

The 29-year-old then moved to Germany to play in the Bundesliga for Nurnberg for a short stint in 2013 before signing with Portuguese club Portimonense. After close to three years in the Segunda Liga, Kanazaki returned home to play with Kashima Antlers in 2016.

Across three and a half years with Kashima Antlers, the Japanese international made 102 appearances, scoring 38 goals, and bagged yet another J.League Cup in 2015, a J1 League title in 2016, as well as the Emperor’s Cup and Japanese Super Cup.

Kanazaki also played a vital role in Kashima Antlers’ 2018 AFC Champions League campaign, scoring three goals in the group stage. His departure means that that he will miss out on the quarter-final tie against China PR’s Tianjin Quanjian.

“I have been with Kashima Antlers for three and a half years and I had a really wonderful experience,” said Kanazaki.

“I will use the experience I have garnered with Kashima to face a new challenge. I want to adjust to the team as soon as possible and contribute to winning.

“Thank you so much for supporting me.”

Kanazaki will now join former Atletico Madrid forward Fernando Torres on the pitch, who joined Sagan Tosu early in July.

Sagan Tosu are currently ranked 17th in the 18-team league.

India’s football star Sunil Chhetri has extended his contract with JSW Bengaluru for an additional year to 2021.

Since 2015, the 33-year-old striker has assisted JSW Bengaluru to several domestic titles, which include the I-League, Indian Federation Cup and Super Cup.

On the Continental stage, JSW Bengaluru made club history in reaching the 2016 AFC Cup final but lost 1-0 to Iraq’s Air Force Club.

“I have always said that this club and these fans have been the most fantastic experience of my life and signing a new deal here is only a way of giving back to a club that has given so much to me,” said Chhetri.

“I’ve made some fantastic memories here, and I believe there are many more to make.”

The team will fly out to Spain for their pre-season training camp, in preparation for the 2018 AFC Cup Inter-Zone Semi-finals Play-off first leg against Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr on August 22, before the return leg the following week.

July 24

Islamic Republic of Iran international Reza Ghoochannejhad has transferred to APOEL FC of Cyprus from SC Heerenveen, ahead of the Cypriot First Division 2018-19 season.

The 30-year-old forward began his professional career in the Netherlands, having moved to the country at the age of four. Since then, he has turned out for teams in Belgium, England, Kuwait and Qatar, before ultimately returning to his boyhood club Heerenveen.

The forward represented the Netherlands at the U-19 level, but he accepted a call-up from IR Iran coach Carlos Queiroz in October 2012. He went on to make his debut against Korea Republic in an Asian Zone qualifier for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and later scored Iran's only goal at the Finals in their last game against Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Ghoochannejhad recently featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, where Iran finished third in Group B.

After a spectacular run in their domestic league last season, the Nicosia-based club currently hold the record of 27 titles since 1936.

Australia's Brandon Borrello has transferred to Germany's SC Freiburg, after a superb debut season with 1. FC Kaiserslautern in the 2. Bundesliga.

The 22-year-old winger began his senior career at home with Brisbane Roar 2013, where they claimed the A-League Premiership the same year, before moving to Germany in 2017.

However, the 22-year-old suffered a knee injury just 20 matches in with Kaiserslautern, but despite that, Freiburg signed Borrello as he continues his rehabilitation.

"Freiburg has been with me even after my injury and I want to pay back that confidence, the club is known for making young players even better," said Borrello.

“I’ve work hard to be part of the team, I'm extremely motivated and grateful to Freiburg for giving me this opportunity."

EFL Championship club Millwall FC have confirmed signing a long-term deal with Australia's James Meredith.

Born in Albury in New South Wales, Meredith has spent his career in lower league football in England since being spotted by a Derby County scout, at the age of just 16.

Since then, the 30-year-old defender has played in the League of Ireland Premier Division to the English National League North, before landing a deal with Millwall in 2017, where he was joined by fellow Socceroos legend Tim Cahill a year later.

Meredith first donned the Socceroos jersey in 2015, and was called up for international duty once again by Bert van Marwijk for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia recently.

Gamba Osaka have dismissed manager Levir Culpi and replaced him with former Japan captain Tsuneyasu Miyamoto, the J.League first division side announced.

The 41-year-old Miyamoto, who was boss of the Gamba U-23 team, will take charge of Saturday’s match against Kashima Antlers. Gamba are currently 16th in the 18-team league table with four wins, three draws and 10 losses.

The 65-year-old Culpi took over at Gamba in December but failed to turn the team around after a 10th-place finish in last season’s J1 League under Kenta Hasegawa.

A former defender, Miyamoto captained Japan at the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cups. He earned 71 caps for the national team and retired in 2011.

He made his professional debut with Gamba before playing with Austrian club Salzburg and J.League’s Vissel Kobe.

July 23

Peruvian international André Carrillo has transferred to Saudi Arabian champions Al Hilal on loan from Benfica, ahead of their Saudi Pro League 2018-19 season.

Carrillo, made his senior debut with the Lima-based club Alianza Lima in 2009 before moving to Portugal where he played extensively for Sporting CP from 2011 to 2016.

He then joined Benfica on a five-year deal but was loaned out to the English رPremier League's Watford just a year later.

The 27-year-old featured in Peru's campaign in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia and scored their first goal in the 2-0 win over Australia, for a third place finish in Group C.

Former Portugal boss Paulo Bento has been removed as coach of Chinese Super League club Chongqing Lifan, having taken charge last December.

Chongqing are currently 12th in the table and Saturday's 2-1 win at Tianjin Teda was only their fourth in 13 league matches this campaign.

A tough-tackling defensive midfielder during his playing career, Bento will be replaced by assistant coach Hao Haitao on an interim basis.

July 21

Turkish side Trabzonspor have announced the signing of Persepolis and Islamic Republic of Iran star Vahid Amiri ahead of their 2018–19 Süper Lig season. Amiri has donned Team Melli's colours since 2015, and recently featured in Carlos Queiroz's squad in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

The move for the 30-year-old midfielder marks his first transfer outside of Islamic Republic of Iran since he debuted in 2008.

However, his switch also means Amiri will miss out on Persepolis' 2018 AFC Champions League quarter-final against Qatar's Al Duhail.

Belgium's Sint-Truidense V.V. and Urawa Red Diamonds have reached an agreement on a final transfer of Japanese international Wataru Endo.

In his two-year career with Urawa, the 25-year-old midfielder assisted the club win the J.League Cup in 2016 and the AFC Champions League title a year later. At the international level, Endo was called up to the Samurai Blue in 2015 and played a crucial role in claiming Japan's first AFC U23 Championship title.

"Hello STVV supporters. I am Wataru Endo and I come from Urawa Reds. I join the group as soon as possible as the competition starts within a few days," said Endo.

"I want to give everything for the Canaries."

July 20

Aivi Luik has become the second Australian to put pen to paper with a Spanish Primera Division club in less than a week, joining Levante UD Fememino from Norwefian club Kalmar just days after Alex Chidiac signed for Atlético Madrid.

Luik, 33, will make her first foray in Spanish football, continuing a globe-trotting career which has included spells in Australia, North America and several destinations in Europe, as she looks to earn selection for next year's FIFA Women's World Cup.

The three-time W-League winner was part of Australia's squad as recently as April's AFC Women's Asian Cup, but was left out of the travelling party for this month's Tournament of Nations in the United States.

Melbourne Victory has signed German central defender Georg Niedermeier on a one-year deal.

Niedermeier, 32, developed his skills in the Bayern Munich youth academy before making the move to VfB Stuttgart where he would go on to make 182 appearances across eight seasons.

Most recently, Niedermeier played for Bundesliga side SC Freiburg.

July 19

Hong Kong's Eastern SC have confirmed the return of Chan Yuen Ting as head coach ahead of their Hong Kong Premier League 2018-19 season. The 29-year-old former professional footballer resigned from the club in 2017 to complete her AFC Pro License certificate.

The 2016 AFC Women Coach of the Year took charge of Eastern in 2015, and became the first-ever female coach to have led a professional men’s team to the AFC Champions League.

Under her expert guidance, Eastern claimed the Senior Challenge Shield crown in 2016 before edging out Kitchee SC to win the league three months later – a success that also helped Chan win the Hong Kong Football Association Coach of the Year accolade.

July 18

Korea Republic's Ulsan Hyundai have signed Mix Diskerud on a one-year loan deal from English Premier League champions Manchester City.

The Norwegian-born American began his career in Norway with Stabæk in 2008, and then played for Rosenborg and in the United States with New York City FC before landing a four-and-a-half- year contract with Manchester City in 2018. However, the 27-year-old midfielder was then loaned to Swedish club IFK Göteborg until the end of the season.

Ulsan exited the 2018 AFC Champions League Round of 16 after losing to K League 1 rivals Suwon Samsung Bluewings 3-1 on aggregate.


Meanwhile, Japan international defender Naomichi Ueda has signed with Belgium-side Cercle Brugge for four years, the club has announced.

Ueda, 23, played exclusively for Kashima Antlers since his professional debut in 2013, and assisted the J.League club to the 2016 title, as well as the Emperor's Cup the same year, and has played in three editions of the AFC Champions League - in 2015, 2017 and 2018.

One of Japan's rising stars, the defender first donned the Samurai Blue shirt with the U-17 squad, playing in the 2011 FIFA U-17 World Cup where Japan made it to the quarter-finals, and in the 2015 AFC Asian Cup in Australia. He also played a crucial role in Japan claiming their first AFC U-23 Championship title in 2016 and was in the squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia.

July 17

Netherlands-born Moroccan international Nordin Amrabat has joined Saudi Arabia's Al Nassr. The 31-year-old winger has experience playing in the Eredivisie, Turkey's Super Lig, and La Liga in Spain, as well as the English Premier League with Watford.

In 2011, Amrabat donned the Moroccan jersey for the first time, going on to play in the 2012 Olympics, 2013 Africa Cup of Nations and recently featured in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia, where he started three matches.

Al Nassr finished third in the Saudi Pro League 2017-18 season, securing a spot in the 2019 AFC Champions Leagues Play-off.


Ceres Negros reinforce their ranks ahead of their 2018 AFC Cup ASEAN Zonal Final, signing Jerry Barbaso, Curt Dizon and Blake Powell, and have also welcomed Roland Muller and Paul Mulders back to the fray.

July 16

China PR's Shandong Luneng Taishan FC have announced the signing of forward Roger Guedes. 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.

July 14

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 have announced 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.

July 13

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.

July 12

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.

July 11

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.

July 10

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.

July 9

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.

July 6

Australia defender Milos Degenek has signed a three-year deal at Red Star Belgrade.

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.

July 5

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.

July 4

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.

July 3

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.

July 2

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.

July 1

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."

June 28

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.

June 26

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.

June 22

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.

June 21

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.

June 20

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."

June 17

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.

June 14

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.

June 10

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.

June 8

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.

June 6

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.


May 29

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.

May 24

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, FIFA via Getty Images,,,, Tractorsazi Tabriz,,

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