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Villalobos and Barbetti among host of new signings at Pembroke Athleta

Paltemio Barbetti (left) defending possession from Gustavo Villalobos during a league match last season. Barbetti and Villalobos will be playing for Pembroke Athleta in the 2015-16 campaign.Paltemio Barbetti (left) defending possession from Gustavo Villalobos during a league match last season. Barbetti and Villalobos will be playing for Pembroke Athleta in the 2015-16 campaign.

Pembroke Athleta have been one of the most active clubs so far in this summer’s transfer window as they look to build a competitive squad ahead of their debut campaign in the BOV Premier League, starting on August 21.

Coach Winston Muscat, who replaced Jacques Scerri in June, is doing his utmost along with the club committee to bring in reinforcements for his new team as Pembroke intend to produce a decent challenge and avoid slipping back to Division One after only one year in the top flight.

The Division One champions have already signed four overseas players.

Romanian goalkeeper Andreas Coblis was signed from San Ġwann FC as Pembroke also strengthened their backline with the arrival of Serbian defender Zoran Levnaic, formerly of Qormi, and Paltemio Barbetti, the Italian defensive midfielder who played for Sliema Wanderers and Żebbuġ Rangers last season.

American attacking midfielder Gustavo Villalobos, who spent the second part of 2014-15 at Qormi, penned a one-year deal at Pembroke while Italian forward Ariel Laudisi had his contract extended by another year.

Meanwhile, Pembroke also landed the signatures of lateral defenders Louis Cutajar, who Muscat had managed at Naxxar Lions a couple of years back, and Alex Cini, formerly of Tarxien Rainbows.

Another useful addition to the Pembroke squad was centre-half Owen Bugeja. He parted ways with Tarxien this summer.

Elsewhere, Naxxar are looking to bolster their numbers after having decided not to retain any of the foreign players from last season.

So far, the Lions only succeeded in completing the transfer of Brazilian midfielder Mandinho but new coach Stefano Grima is now assessing a host of overseas players currently on trial at the club.

The Lions have also reached agreement with defender Ishmael Grech and now they’re hopeful of concluding the deal with his club Mosta FC.

Qormi are also in the process of finalising their line-up of foreign players for the new campaign.

Yesterday, Temisson Silva Santos, a Brazilian striker, arrived for a trial as coach Jesmond Zerafa continues his pre-season training.

Qormi have resigned Ghana midfielder Albert Bruce while Swedish duo Billy Bernsston and Alex Nilsson were reconfirmed for another year.

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