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Hibs sign Montenegro defender

Midfielder Andrew Cohen stays put after Balzan and Mosta show interest

Andrew Cohen was the subject of interest from Balzan and Mosta in the final days of the January transfer window. Photo: Matthew MirabelliAndrew Cohen was the subject of interest from Balzan and Mosta in the final days of the January transfer window. Photo: Matthew Mirabelli

Hibs have moved to increase their pool of defenders after reaching an agreement to sign a centre-half from Montenegro on the last day of the January transfer window.

Igor Radusinovic is expected to complete his move to Hibernians this week after the club filed a request for his international transfer certificate before the 7pm deadline on Friday.

It is understood that the Malta FA are now waiting for the go-ahead from FIFA before accepting Radusinovic’s registration as the Transfer Matching System (TMS), operated by football’s world governing body, reportedly stalled in the final hours of this year’s winter transfer window.

Radusinovic, 29, was on the books of OFK Grbajl, a club in Montenegro.

The Paolites made the signing of a defender a top priority last month after they allowed Brazilian duo Rodolfo Soares and Marcelo Dias to join Lebanese club Al-Ahed SC on loan until the end of the season.

There have also been reports that Hibernians rejected the overtures of two Premier League clubs who declared an interest in signing Andrew Cohen last Friday.

Balzan and Mosta both enquired about the possibility of acquiring the Malta international midfielder but Hibs were not prepared to part with one of their most important players.

Elsewhere, Qormi have finalised the signing of another foreign player, Italian forward Simone Raffaele Quintieri, who made his debut in yesterday’s 5-3 defeat to Hibs.

Quintieri, 31, has played for several clubs in his career. In April 2013, he joined Miami United in the US before returning to Europe to play for SV Wilhelmshaven but his spell with the German club didn’t last long.

Last Friday, Qormi also acquired Italian midfielder Giorgio Gianola and a striker from Ivory Coast.

Vittoriosa Stars, who pulled off a major transfer coup last week after signing experienced goalkeeper Mario Muscat on a short-term loan from Hibernians, are set to add two Italian defenders to their squad in their quest to avoid the drop.

Daniele Messina, a 21-year-old defender, has agreed to join Vittoriosa in the hope of getting regular first-team football after failing to make the breakthrough at Serie A club Sampdoria.

Vittoriosa’s other newcomer is Leonardo Torri who was registered with AS Livorno, this season playing in the Italian top flight.

It is believed that Felice Bellini, Vittoriosa’s newly-appointed sporting director, was instrumental in persuading Messina and Torri to join the Cottonera side.

Meanwhile, Brazilian defender Evaldo has signed for GE Brasil.

Evaldo started the season with Naxxar Lions but returned to his home country last month for personal reasons.

Kick-off change

The Malta Football Association yesterday switched the kick-off times of Saturday’s two Premier League matches at the Victor Tedesco Stadium.

The clash between Valletta and Balzan had been due to start at 4.15pm but kick-off was moved to 2pm to ensure that it starts at the same time as the Naxxar Lions-Hiber-nians at Corradino.

Balzan and Naxxar Lions are in contention for the remaining berth in the Championship Pool.

With the sixth-placed Balzan leading Naxxar by one point, their last match from the first phase this weekend will decide the issue.

Revised programme

Saturday
Hibernians Stadium: 2pm Naxxar vs Hiber-nians; 4pm Vittoriosa vs Birkirkara.
Tedesco Stadium: 2pm Valletta vs Balzan; 4.15pm Rabat Ajax vs Sliema.

Sunday
National Stadium: 2pm Tarxien vs Mosta; 4pm Qormi vs Floriana.

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