UAE champions Al Ain have beaten competition from Bani Yas and Al Ahli to complete the signing of talented goalkeeper Khalid Essa from Al Jazira. Essa, 23, is a highly - rated goalkeeper with a bright future, but has been in the unfortunate position of competing with UAE No1 Ali Khaseef for a place both in the Jazira side and the national team. In an exclusive interview withSport360°,
Essa made it clear he would be prepared to leave the Abu Dhabi club in search of first-team football, and there was little surprise when a host of Arabian Gulf League clubs were vying for his signature. Among those interested were GCC Champions League winners Bani Yas and President’s Cup holders Al Ahli, but Essa has opted to join the reigning league champions Al Ain. Al Jazira management, including Chairman Sheikh Mohammad Bin Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, met with Essa on Thursday and gave their approval for his transfer after he expressed a desire to leave for regular football. While the length of Essa's
deal is currently undisclosed, Al Ain will have to pay Jazira $20,000 a year as the goalkeeper is a graduate of their Academy. Essa is the second player this summer to make a move from Abu Dhabi to Al Ain, following former Jazira captain Ibrahim Diaky to the Garden City.