The 2019/20 winter transfer window is in full swing and rumours about our players continue to swirl around the Iraqi media with each passing day. Read this round-up to ensure you are familiar with all the latest – and don’t forget to follow Soccer Iraq on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram to stay updated!
Safaa Hadi has had a fantastic year, cementing himself as a regular in Katanec’s Iraq team. He was linked with moves to Europe last summer but chose to sign for Iraqi champions Al-Shorta – however recent news suggests that a transfer to Europe is still on the cards. Sada Sport have reported that Safaa did not return to Baghdad with his Al-Shorta teammates after their Arab Club Champions Cup tie but instead went to Turkey to negotiate with representatives of a Russian top-flight club. Watch this space, Lions…
This time last year, Mohanad Ali “Meme” was on the lips of Iraqis across the world with links to European giants including Juventus and Benfica. One year on, Meme finds himself on the outskirts of Al-Duhail in Qatar, a side who have recently signed two new forwards in Mario Mandžukić and Han Kwang-song, and Meme is said to want to leave the club as soon as possible. He has received offers from a host of Arab clubs including Al-Kuwait, Al-Sailiya, Al-Wakrah, Al-Gharafa and Al-Rayyan but these have not piqued his interest as he still hopes of securing a transfer to Europe. Links to Galatasaray, Borussia Dortmund and the Serie A remain unconfirmed, and so the search for a dream move goes on for Iraq’s young star.
Despite an impressive spell at Atlanta United, where Justin claimed both the Campeones Cup and the US Open Cup titles, the MLS side did not renew his contract and Justin is now searching for a new club. The latest news suggests that the Iraq winger is off to Saudi Arabia, with Al-Ahli being touted as his potential destination. The 31 year-old told us at Soccer Iraq that he would love to play in one of the Arab leagues in the future (you can read that interview here), and this could be a good time for the fan favourite to make that move, especially with the increasing competition in Katanec’s side.
The centre-back has been one of Iraq’s best defenders in recent months but currently finds himself without a club having ended his contract at Serbian side Radnički Niš. According to journalist Maher Hassan, he is set to return to Asia and is close to joining Esteghlal, one of Iran’s top teams, while news of a possible return to the Qatar Stars League has also been doing the rounds.
Bashar Resan has long been complaining about not receiving his financial dues from Iranian club Persepolis and it seems the player has finally had enough. According to his agent Behrooz Dezhbod, he will only continue at Persepolis for the rest of the season if he receives his dues within the next week. Otherwise, Bashar will be on the move as he currently has four offers from clubs in Turkey, Spain, UAE and Saudi Arabia. We like the sound of Bashar in La Liga!
Iraq captain Alaa Abdul-Zahra returned to the national team set up during the 24th Arabian Gulf Cup and impressed in the Lions’ win over UAE, scoring, assisting and picking up the best player award. His performance caught the eye of Emirati side Khor Fakkan who made an official offer to the veteran, but Alaa decided against the move, stating that he was focused on helping his club Al-Shorta on their upcoming AFC Champions League campaign, and so it seems last season’s Iraqi League top scorer is going nowhere this window.
Mohammed Qasim, or the “Iraqi Messi” as he is affectionately known by fans of his club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, burst onto the international scene recently with a stunning brace against Qatar at the last Arabian Gulf Cup and was linked with a variety of different Arab clubs, as well as being the subject of a loan offer from Al-Shorta ahead of the start of their AFC Champions League campaign. However, it seems that the player is content with remaining at The Falcons for the time being, meaning we will have to wait for the resumption of the Iraqi League to see the tricky midfielder back in action.
Luay Al-Ani, who missed out on a place in the Iraq Olympic squad for the AFC U-23 Championship due to injury, was reportedly close to signing for Moroccan giants Wydad Casablanca last month, but the deal has not gone through and the midfielder is now set to join Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya on a three-year deal starting from next season as the Iraqi League heavyweights continue to strengthen their squad with young talent.
Another youngster on Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya’s radar is Mohammed Mezher. One of the most impressive performers in the Olympic squad’s AFC U-23 Championship campaign, the Naft Maysan midfielder has revealed that he has several offers from Iraqi League clubs and is thought to be closest to signing for Jawiya, joining up with the likes of Olympic teammates Ihab Nasser, Mohammed Qasim Nassif and Hussein Jabbar there. However, Al-Shorta are also interested, particularly after losing Amjad Attwan earlier this month, and could make a loan offer for the player.
Mustafa Nadhim was released by Al-Zawraa on request from the player after he had received an offer to join up with Emad Mohsin at Sudanese side Al-Hilal. However, negotiations with Al-Hilal broke down at the last minute, and it remains to be seen whether the centre-back will be able to secure a move to a different foreign club or whether he will be forced to return to the Iraqi League.
Finally, the confirmed transfers…
In case you missed them, here are the transfers that have already been finalised during the current transfer window:
Farhan Shakor from Al-Naft to Al-Faisaly (Jordan)
Amjad Attwan from Al-Shorta to Al-Kuwait (Kuwait)
Alaa Abbas from Al-Zawraa to Al-Kuwait (Kuwait)
Emad Mohsin from Al-Zawraa to Al-Hilal (Sudan)
Mohammed Shokan from Naft Al-Wasat to Kazma (Kuwait)