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Busy day for Marsaxlokk as new signings pour in

Brian Said (left) is on his way to joining Marsaxlokk.

Brian Said (left) is on his way to joining Marsaxlokk.

Marsaxlokk's ferocious assault on the transfer market continued yesterday when the former Malta champions completed the signing of Christian Cassar, the Floriana midfielder, and edged closer to that of Sliema's Brian Said.

Spearheaded by their ambitious young president Robert Micallef, Marsaxlokk have signalled their intent to mount a strong challenge for the league title and other domestic honours this season by recruiting a host of players in the past few weeks.

Negotiations between Marsa-xlokk and Sliema for the transfer of Said were concluded a few days ago but the move was only expected to be confirmed last night as the Malta defender waited to receive the go-ahead from the Wanderers' committee to link up with Brian Talbot's team.

News of Said's likely departure from Sliema will cause a few eyebrows to be raised, given his high standing in the team and his long association with the club, but the Wanderers agreed to do business for the highly-rated Malta defender after receiving an attractive offer for his services from Marsaxlokk.

Said is expected to sign a two-year contract with Marsaxlokk who yesterday secured the signing of Cassar from Floriana.

The 25-year-old, who has inked a five-year deal with Marsaxlokk, is the second prominent player to be sold by Floriana over the past few days after Manolito Micallef was transferred to Ħamrun Spartans during the weekend.

It was certainly a busy day for the Marsaxlokk president and his close allies yesterday as they spent much of their time finalising the registration documents of their new signings.

Saviour Darmanin also completed his switch to Marsaxlokk after he put pen to paper on a one-year deal. The former Malta goalkeeper spent the last two years with Valletta.

"Leaving Valletta was not easy because I had an excellent rapport with the players, coaching staff and the fans but I was keen on a new challenge," Darmanin told The Times.

"Marsaxlokk were among the first clubs to show a firm interest in signing me and I'm glad to have reached an agreement to join them."

Marsaxlokk have also acquired Brazilian striker Marcelo Pereira from Mqabba, who were relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, and reached an accord with Hibs to extend the loan of Argentine striker Julio Alcorse for another season.

Brazilian defender Renato Conceicao has also signed with Marsaxlokk for another year.

Clive Brincat, who was loaned to Msida St Joseph last season, has also joined Marsaxlokk after the Blues struck an agreement with St George's for his permanent transfer.

Mark Barbara will also spend 2008/09 on loan with Marsaxlokk as part of the deal that saw Jamie Pace and Cleaven Frendo move to Valletta a few weeks ago.

Arnold Buttigieg, of St Patrick, is another defender who is set to form part of Talbot's squad next season after the player expressed a desire to join the Southerners.

Meanwhile, The Times has learnt that Hibs' midfielder Uzeh Edafe has received an offer to have a trial with a club in Israel but the Nigerian has yet to make up his mind on his future.

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