Kuala Lumpur. Ambitious Johor FC is close to pulling off one of Malaysian football’s biggest transfers, with former Spain striker Daniel Guiza expected to sign a contract in the next few days.
The 32-year-old, who was top scorer in La Liga four years ago for Real Mallorca before going on to help Spain win Euro 2008, arrived in Malaysia on Sunday ahead of his proposed move, local media reported.
The Getafe forward said he had offers from other clubs in Europe but was keen to move to Malaysia despite his lack of knowledge about the league.
“To be honest, I don’t know much about Malaysian football, but I watched videos of the local matches on the Internet before coming down here and what I observed was Malaysians appear very passionate about their football,” Guiza told local media. “I’m really happy to come here as this will be a new and great experience for me.”
After his standout season in 2008, Guiza joined Turkish side Fenerbahce for 14 million euros ($18 million) before returning to Spain last year and signing a three-year deal with Getafe.
But Guiza has hardly featured of late in his second spell with the club, leading him to look for a new challenge.
Ambitious plans and a number of new signings have led Johor, which finished ninth in the 14-team Super League this season, to be dubbed the “Manchester City of Malaysia” by local media after the big spending English champion.
Johor FA President Tunku Mahkota Johor Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim said last month that he wanted to bring in two high-profile foreign signings to improve the fortunes of the club, which last won the league title in 1991.
“I would be glad and honored to have a player of such caliber join us. The issue isn’t the money offered to him but whether he can settle here quickly,” Tunku Ismail said of Guiza. “Hopefully we will be able to strike a deal as soon as possible so I can take him around and show him what Johor has to offer.”
Johor must register its squad for the 2013 Malaysia Super League season by Dec. 13.