By Sulayman Bah
The striker joins from second tier-bound OH Leuven, his club of two-years, on a three-year deal that runs until 2017.
The move is engineered by the Gambian’s desire to remain in the top flight after OHL got demoted from the Pro League in Belgium.
He had just one-season left of his initial three-year deal he signed with the club in 2012 from RAEC Mons, and , aware of the forward’s reluctance to drop level or sign an extension, OHL decided to cash in on the Gambian for fear of losing him on free transfer next summer when his contract will be up.
Acquired reportedly in the region of€1.70million, Sawaneh is considered the right player to help Waasland-Beveren’s push for a spot in the Europa League play-offs following strings of unimpressive finishes in recent seasons, avoiding the drop by narrow point margins.
The striker’s easy signing was facilitated by his willingness to try new waters –after less than a prepossessing loan spell in Qatar –and on account his erstwhile club Beveren are being coached by Ronny Van, a former coach of his.
He was unveiled over the weekend to tumultuous fans cheers and had his straight go into the team making his debut in a pre-season defeat to an Israeli club.
Nicknamed Ibou as abbreviation for Ebrahima,Sawaneh first joined the club from Polish giants Lech Poznan on a bosman transfer fee in 2006 and went on to establish himself a fan favourite almost solely masterminded Beveren’s promotion to the top flight in 2008 in which he was the second tier league highest goal-scorer on twenty-two goals.
He courted interest from Utretch(Netherlands) , Dnipro (Ukraine), Reading (England), St Etienne (France) and Bayer Leverkusen (Germany) –all top European clubs –in the aftermath of the 2013 campaign in which he was second highest league goal-getter that term; and as a result got shortlisted for the best African player of the year award in Belgium.
Elsewhere, uncapped Gambian winger Modou Barrow’s situation took a new twist with Celtic FC’scoach, initially reported to be ardent on signing him, down playing chances of swooping for the Gambian.
But while Celtic gaffer’s comment could put to bed any hopes of a signature, there’s still high interest in the player with EPL club Everton reportedly the latest to join the hassle for a deal along with QPR, Middlesbrough, Swansea City and Bolton.
Representatives of the aforesaid clubs were in attendance as Barrow steals the show in the 3-1 win over toppled league leaders Sundsvall. Negotiations are at advanced stage with an agreement expected to be reached at least before end of this week.