LONDON: Al-Ahli have taken another positive step towards wrestling the title away from Al-Hilal by adding to their already prolific strike force.
The Jeddah side have signed Cape Verde international striker Djaniny Tavares on a four-year deal and he is set to spearhead an attacking unit that scored 59 times in the league last season, 12 more than anyone else.
Tavares, 27, is 6ft 3in and is likely to be used as a target man, making him the perfect foil for sharpshooter Omar Al-Somah, who has been the league’s top-scorer in three of the past four seasons.
Somah scored 11 times in the league last season — one less than Al-Fayha’s Ronnie Fernández who led the league scoring charts — while Leonardo, with ten, and Giannis Fetfatzidis, who got nine, were not far behind for Al-Ahli, but the latter two have been released as part of a cull of the club’s foreign players, so Tavares has been recruited with a view to replacing their goal threat.
Tavares is not a household name — he has spent most of his career playing for some of the lesser known clubs in Portugal — but he has spent the last four years in Mexico, scoring 40 goals in 124 games for Santos Laguna. He has been capped 24 times by his country, scoring four goals and will join up with his new Al-Ahli teammates in Austria for their pre-season training camp.
Tavares is the club’s fifth summer signing, following on from the capture of Spaniard’s Jose Manuel Jurado and Alexis Ruano, Egyptian international Abdallah El-Said and Nouh Al-Mousa. Al-Somah, Mohamed Al-Fateel and Motaz Hawsawi have signed new contracts while Pablo Guede is the new coach.
Al-Ahli missed out on the title by a single point last season and are keen to kick on and land the title for the first time since 2016.
Al-Ahli begin the competitive season on Aug. 7 with an Arab Club Champions Cup game against Muharraq before kicking off the Saudi Pro League season on Aug. 30 with a home game against Al-Batin