Fardan: We need to replace Grafite

Oita goalkeeper puts the ball into his own net in the J-League

The Al Ghusais outfit sold their Brazilian playmaker in January and proceeded to finish in seventh place, having won the title the year before.

The Red Knights had an offer accepted with Shakhtar Donetsk's Brazilian striker Luiz Adriano recently, but was ultimately pipped to his signature by Italian giants AC Milan before personal terms could be agreed.

Following that development, Fardan hopes the void left by the departure of Grafite before the first leg of their Asian Champions League quarter-final against Naft Tehran away on August 26.

"Of course, each player has an impact, you can't only say a striker has a positive effect. We are a team of XI and don't always depend on one player, but I think we lost a great attacker in Grafite. We hope the next foreigner will be as good as him," said Fardan at an Adidas boot launch earlier this week.

"Grafite was more like a brother to all players, he is such a great player who gives the team confidence on the field and it's hard to find someone like him. I hope we get someone who can help the team as much as he did.

"I've heard Everton Ribeiro and Kwon Kyung-won are staying and we still need to bring in two foreign players. Luiz Adriano may be one of them. I'm sure the club will bring good players to help us do something good in the Champions League.

"You won't find any easy games in this round of the competition. Naft Tehran are a well-organised team with good players, but this is a great opportunity to reach the semi-finals, which would be the furthest Al Ahli have got in their history.

"We will also do our best to be champions again in the league. It won't be easy, but foreign players will help us. We had a lot of problems last season, but we will be much better this season."

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