A talented English striker has become the first footballer in the UK to sign a professional contract in the Arabian Gulf League.
Jai Verma, 23, has joined Al Shabab FC, the top-flight Emirates League club in the UAE, after agreeing to a two and half year deal.
The semi-professional ace, who had six years of non-league football under his belt before he joined the highest ranked club in Dubai, was playing for Forest Cavaliers FC when he was spotted by an international scout.
The left-winger with an incredible goal per game ratio has played for teams including West Bridgford Colts, Arnold Town, Radford and Forest Cavaliers as well as having undertaken studies in sports science at university in Nottingham.
Voted the best player of the round last year, Jai has gone from strength to strength in his football career, and an offer of a professional contrast was inevitable for the hard-working youngster.
Jai tweeted: “I am delighted to have signed professional contract with Al Shabab. The hard work continues.”
Speaking of his reaction when he was offered a trial with the club, he said: “It felt amazing when I found out.
“It is incredible to just be asked to go on trial and be given the chance to play for a team abroad – but for it to be Dubai, the world’s up-and-coming city, is just fantastic.
“I never expected it to happen at all, or to be called up or to be asked to come and play in Dubai.”