Gyan could be trailblazer
Former Sunderland striker Asamoah Gyan is blazing a trail which could see other big-name players head for the United Arab Emirates.
That is the view of Al-Ain chief executive Carlo Nohra, whose club last week clinched a permanent move for the 26-year-old Ghana international.
"It's definitely a landmark event," he told The National.
"Asamoah will be instrumental in attracting other players to the UAE because he has proven that if you are of his calibre, you can come to the Emirates, join a very big club and as a football player, be satisfied besides being satisfied as a human being.
"It proves that if you are in your prime, you can still come here, make a very good living, enjoy yourself in a beautiful country but, most importantly for a footballer, play football to a very high standard, and it speaks a lot for the club and the values we have.
"Hopefully he will be a shining example for other players to consider coming here."
Gyan made a shock loan move to the Middle East in September last year after just one season on Wearside following his £13million-plus move from Rennes.
Sunderland had spent the summer insisting he was not for sale amid speculation linking him with several clubs, but eventually took the decision to allow him a temporary move after it became apparent wanted to go.
They have since more of less recouped their investment in him in an initial loan fee and a second payment which sealed his switch amid reports that he is being paid as much as £140,000 a week by his new club.
Gyan scored 22 goals last season as Al-Ain claimed the league title, and his retention was a key part of their plans for the new campaign.
Related Sunderland News