Football Tribe SEA Editor
The Liga 1 pre-season transfer market continues with Persija Jakarta, not willing to repeat the disappointments of 2019, continuing to reinforce themselves with new players. After the arrivals of naturalized Brazilian defender Otávio Dutra from Persebaya Surabaya, Alfath Fathier from Madura United, and Rafli Mursalim from Liga 2 side Mitra Kukar as well as the contract extensions of both Marko Šimić and Rohit Chand, the Macan Kemayoran management has announced the arrival of Evan Dimas, who will hopefully add more steel to the Persija midfield.
Evan, the former Bhayangkara FC, Selangor FA, and Barito Putera midfielder, was given his favorite number 6 shirt at Persija, where he has signed a year-long contract with an additional option to extend for another 3 years at the end of the 2020 season. Persija CEO Ferry Paulus said that the decision to bring Evan to Persija was a quick one, seeing that his quality as a player is almost undeniable.
“Evan’s a solid player,” said Ferry, “A player of his quality is definitely needed by the team in order to perform well in the 2020 season. He will play for us for a year…but if he does well enough he’ll get a 3-year extension once the season comes to an end. Evan joining us will surely help us reclaim the Liga 1 title. The road to the title will be made easier by the fact that the players in our starting lineup and in our reserve are of almost equal quality.”
Evan could not hide his delight in joining Persija, stating, “Persija are the most serious suitors for my signature and I will only play for the club that wants my services the most. They also have lofty ambitions to win titles next season.”
The midfielder added, “It is a challenge and motivation for me to play my best game at this huge club. Especially with supporters such as The Jakmania who constantly give their support to the club passionately. We’ll fight together and let’s support each other for the success of Persija in 2020.”
Maung Bandung Takes In V.League Duo
Meanwhile, at Persija’s huge rivals Persib Bandung, rumors regarding the departure of their talismanic striker Ezechiel N’Douassel has prompted the Persib management to seek new alternatives to fill in the Chad international’s boots. After much speculation, the Persib management has decided to bring in two Brazilian strikers into the team, Wander Luiz and Joel Vinicius. Both men were alumni of the 2019 V.League 1 season, with the former representing Becamex Binh Duong last time out and the latter spending 2019 at both Ho Chi Minh City FC and Song Lam Nghe An. The two Brazilians were not handed contracts yet though, as the Persib coaching staff seek to assess them first throughout pre-season before finally coming to a decision.
Persija and PSM Makassar fans may have known Wander Luiz all too well from their clubs’ 2019 AFC Cup campaigns. The 27-year old has scored against both Persija and PSM in the AFC Cup last season while representing Binh Duong, the former during a 3-1 win in the group stages that eliminated Persija from the AFC Cup and the latter being the decisive away goal that knocked PSM out of the competition in the ASEAN Zonal Semifinals. Domestically-wise, Wander Luiz has scored 6 times for the Go Dau-based outfit in the 2019 V.League 1 and once in the 2019 Vietnamese National Cup.
Joel Vinicius, on the other hand, has a remarkable scoring record in the 2019 V.League 1, having scored 11 times throughout his spells at Ho Chi Minh City and Song Lam Nghe An. Despite being released from Ho Chi Minh City midway through the 2019 season, Joel’s goals have contributed to the team’s final league position of 2nd, a huge improvement from 12th place in 2018.
With N’Douassel’s future still up in the air, Persib has decided to take both Wander Luiz and Joel on trial in order to find the perfect replacement for the Chad international should he decides to leave Maung Bandung. Rumor has it that despite having a contract that lasts until 2021, N’Douassel’s seeking to reunite with Djajang Nurdjaman at Barito Putera. In anticipation of this, Persib will assess the two V.League alumni throughout the pre-season, before deciding to sign either one or both of them in order to fill in that void in the attacking line should N’Douassel manage to force his way out of the club.
So far Persib have retained the services of two of their foreigners from last season, Dutch defender Nick Kuipers and Filipino midfielder Omid Nazari. Should Persib decides to sign either one of Wander Luiz or Joel, they’ll have to dive again into the market for their last foreigner, but should Persib decides to sign both Brazilians, their foreign quota is pretty much wrapped up.