Valletta in talks to sign Brazilian trio Published on: 05-06-2012

Hogg leaning towards Cyprus move

Valletta are in talks to sign three Brazilian players for next season.

The champions, who have handed the reins of the team to former Hibs coach Mark Miller, have, over the past few weeks, focused most of their efforts on the recruitment of three new foreign players as they look to reinforce their squad ahead of the commitments in the first qualifying round of the 2012/13 Champions League.

Last season, Valletta had a multitude of foreign players but they have only retained two, namely Denni, who has another two years left on his contract, and his Brazilian compatriot William Barbosa who has signed a new one-year deal.

Matthew Towns is still under contract with Valletta but the English goalkeeper is widely expected to seek pastures new in search of regular first-team football.

It has emerged that Valletta have virtually agreed terms with the three Brazilian players who, sources claim, are established names in the leagues they played in last season.

With the Valletta players summoned to report back for training early next week, the Citizens are expected to complete the signings of the Brazilian trio over the coming days.

Miller has yet to decide on the future of the several Valletta players who are coming back from loan spells.

The indications are that Dyson Falzon and Ryan Fenech, who are coming from short loan stints with Mosta and Sliema respectively, are part of Miller’s plans while Cleaven Frendo, who has earned a recall to the national squad, may also be asked to begin pre-season with the champions.

Valletta are also faced with a goalkeeping dilemma in light of the seemingly impending departure of Malta goalkeeper Andrew Hogg who has been their first-choice custodian for the past five years.

After failing to agree terms on a new contract, Hogg is expected to pursue his career overseas with Cyprus his likely destination.

The 27-year-old is also attracting the interest of clubs from Germany, Belgium and Iran but he is believed to be leaning towards a move to a top-flight team in Cyprus.

Justin Haber, who is a free agent after terminating his contract with Greek club Kerkyra, is the top candidate to replace Hogg at Valletta but Floriana’s Manuel Bartolo is also in the frame.

Meanwhile, Stephen Azzopardi has reached a verbal agreement to remain as Qormi coach for another season.

Having led the team to the U*Bet FA Trophy final, Azzopardi had been tipped to extend his tenure with Qormi where he has been in charge for the last two seasons.

Qormi have offered a new contract to Jorginho but the Brazilian forward is keeping his options open in the hope of earning a deal with an overseas club.

The Yellow-Blacks are set to take up the option to extend English defender Kris Thackray’s contract for another year and are also in negotiations with Nigerian winger Abubakar Bello-Osagie.

Birkirkara midfielder Gareth Sciberras had an operation yesterday after fracturing his left thumb during the first half of Malta’s 2-0 win over Luxembourg.

Source - Times of Malta