Rim Chang-woo future unclear as Al Wahda and Al Wasl hesitate

Matt Monaghan 21:39 10/07/2017
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Tackle the problem: The future of Al Wahda's Rim Chang-woo (r) is unclear (Chris Whiteoak).

Versatile South Korea defender Rim Chang-woo’s future remains unclear, with employers Al Wahda linked to countryman Lee Chang-min and potential suitors Al Wasl conflicted about buying him.

Rim, 25, has lifted the 2016/17 President’s Cup, 2015/16 Arabian Gulf Cup and scored four times in 34 Arabian Gulf League run-outs since he inked a two-year deal in January 2016 to join from Ulsan Hyundai. Fresh doubts about the $1 million signing’s future at Al Nahyan Stadium were created on Monday when media in his homeland linked him to an exchange deal with Jeju United centre midfielder Lee.

The Clarets management have stepped up negotiations for the promising 23-year-old, who has scored four times in 24 international appearances for the Taeguk Warriors’ Under-23s. This step has met resistance from new coach Laurentiu Reghecampf, who both wants to witness the in-situ player during this week’s opening training sessions and has doubts about weakening a back line which conceded 40 times as Wahda limped home fifth in the Arabian Gulf League last term under ex-Mexico supremo Javier Aguirre.

Another possible option for Rim, who possesses five senior caps for Korea, is to swap Abu Dhabi for Dubai. Wasl are fellow 2018 AFC Champions League qualifiers, yet a similar situation sees board members express interest in a target which is not reciprocated by boss Rodolfo Arruabarrena.

The Argentine would prefer to land a midfielder to fill the Asian-qualified slot in his team’s four-player foreign quota. Anchorman Park Jong-woo, 28, could be of interest after his contract was not renewed at top-flight champions Al Jazira.

Brazil-born Caio Canedo took up that role for last season’s shock second-placed finishers, on a Timor-Leste passport. Wasl have not been implicated, thus far, in any wrongdoing, but a long-term investigation by the AFC saw nine Brazilians sanctioned in March for using false documentation from the tiny Southeast Asian country.

The Cheetahs have every intention to resist intense interest from Saudi Arabia, Qatar and China in prolific forward Fabio De Lima, plus retain exciting ex-Santos playmaker Ronaldo Mendes. Disastrous fellow Brazilian Serginho is not required.

Domestically, they recruited right-back Salem Al Azizi, 24, from Al Ain on Sunday.

Elsewhere in the AGL on Monday, Santos announced a deal for Al Nasr misfit and ex-Brazil striker Nilmar.

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