The Montreal Impact announced the transfer of midfielder Saphir Taider to Saudi Arabian club Al Ain on Wednesday. The terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The news follows an announcement from Al Ain earlier in the day.
“The club would like to thank Saphir for his three seasons in Montreal and everything he’s accomplished on the field,” said Impact sporting director Olivier Renard. “An opportunity presented itself and the club worked to meet Saphir’s desire, which concluded in this transfer.”
Added Taider: “It was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse. I leave with a broken heart, because I felt really good in this club and my family loves this city. I hold very fond memories. I would like to thank my teammates, the staff, Olivier Renard, Thierry Henry, owner Joey Saputo, who has gone above and beyond for my family and I, here and in Bologna, and finally the supporters, who made me feel at home since my arrival. This is not goodbye…why not come back one day.”
The move opens up a Designated Player slot for Montreal, giving them two DP slots they will be able to fill. Victor Wanyama currently occupies the third after the former Tottenham midfielder was signed this winter.
Taider, 28, originally joined Montreal from sister club Bologna ahead of the 2018 season and his loan was made permanent after the 2019 campaign. He was a mainstay in the Impact starting XI, starting 75 games over three seasons. He had 20 goals and 21 assists from central midfield.
Taider has made 46 appearances with the Algerian national team. He is the latest MLSer to head to Saudi Arabia this fall, following Pity Martinez and Alexandru Mitrita.