More trouble for rivals as JDT sign Argentine Elias

ISKANDAR PUTERI: Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) have secured the signature of Argentine midfielder Jalil Elias and are eyeing three or four more additional signings ahead for the 2024 M-League season.

Coach Esteban Solari said Elias, 27, is among several new faces who will don JDT colours next season.

"Elias is 100 per cent joining JDT. He has passed the medical test. His inclusion will make the team more solid and consistent," said Solari following JDT's season-ending 8-0 thrashing of Penang in Saturday's Super League match at Sultan Ibrahim Stadium in Iskandar Puteri.

Elias will be a perfect fit for Spaniard Natxo Insa, who has been unavailable for almost 10 months due to injury.

Nathaniel Shio had played in Insa's position during the just-concluded season.

"With Elias in the middle of the park with Nathaniel, our midfield will be more solid and consistent, considering the experience of the Argentine player.

"We do have Leandro Velazquez, but he is still in recovery from injury and needs monitoring.

"Elias's presence will be crucial next year. Furthermore, he can play as a defensive midfielder."

When asked whether Akhyar Rashid would be leaving the club, Solari said he wants the Kedah-born midfielder to remain with JDT.

"Akhyar is a game changer, but as I have said, it depends on him (to decide).

"We also want Brazilian striker Heberty to stay. He worked hard and did his best for JDT.

Regarding JDT's plans to hold preseason training in Europe, Solari said club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim wants to provide the best exposure for the new season.

"We need to play against good teams to get better, and when Tunku Ismail suggested Spain and Portugal, I agreed because we have the opportunity to face their top clubs," Solari added.

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