Vietnamese midfielder set to trial for La Liga club

By Hoang Nguyen   May 8, 2019 | 11:21 pm PT
Vietnamese midfielder set to trial for La Liga club
Nguyen Quang Hai (C) in AFF Cup 2018. Photo by VnExpress/Quang Huy
Nguyen Quang Hai is set to go for a La Liga trial in Spain, disappointing Thai clubs hoping to recruit him.

Hai will head to the Deportivo Alaves club this year or the next for trials, the La Liga Operations Director for ASEAN, Japan, South Korea and Australia, Ivan Codina, has confirmed.

Speaking to Vietnamese press, Codina said that Alaves was impressed with Hai’s performance and would like to have him trial in the 2019-2020 season.

The Spanish club highly appreciates the midfielder of Hanoi FC and have shown their excitement, he said.

"There’s not a big gap in abilities and exterior skills of Asian players. It is an opportunity for them to boost their ability in higher level tournaments," Codina said.

Deportivo Alaves played well in La Liga this season, ranking 10 after 36 rounds with 47 points.

Codina also spoke of the possibility of other Vietnamese players playing in the La Liga.

"It’s not just Quang Hai, it might be a lot of other Vietnamese or Asian footballers going to La Liga for trials. It is a chance of a lifetime which not every player can get. If it’s not this year, it will be the next season."

Thai League clubs are said to be disappointed that Hai is headed to Spain.

Thai newspaper Siam Sports said that Nguyen Quang Hai had made "Thai League teams eager to own him and ready to loosen the purse strings.

"These teams have aired their disappointment when the Vietnamese press announced that Deportivo Alaves have showed interest Quang Hai. It is likely that they will sign a deal with Quang Hai if he passes the trials."

If Hai gets through the trials, he will be the first Southeast Asian player to join a Spanish team and to play in La Liga. Only three players from Asia have played or are still playing in La Liga - Takashi Inui (Japan), John Aactisie (Australia) and Wu Lei (China).

Hai is one of the most prominent talents in Vietnamese football at the moment. He is an irreplaceable part of Coach Park’s strategy, from the U23 team to the national team.

The 22-year-old played in every single big tournament for Vietnam in 2018 and helped the national team to a top 8 finish at the Asian Cup 2019.

For his performance in 2018, Hai won the Vietnamese Golden Ball Award.

After some time away because of injury, Hai is back as the key player for Hanoi FC in V. League 1 and the AFC Cup. The latest win by Hanoi FC against Nagaworld in the AFC Cup saw a significant contribution from Hai. He provided two assists and put on an excellent display in the 5-1 victory.

Hai also played an important role in the Vietnam’s U23 line up as the team beat Thailand 4-0 to qualify for the 2020 U23 AFC Championship last March.

Earlier this year, two of Hai’s national team teammates, goalkeeper Dang Van Lam and midfielder Luong Xuan Truong joined Thai League. Dang Van Lam transferred to Muangthong United with a fee of $500,000 and became the main goalkeeper for the club while Luong Xuan Truong moved to Buriram United on loan.

This June, football fans in Thailand will have the chance to see Hai perform when Vietnam participates in King’s Cup 2019, which is hosted by Thailand.

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