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JDT primed for Charity Shield against Selangor with new signings

ESPN FC's Jason Dasey and John Wilkinson preview the new Malaysia Super League season and lay out their expectations for JDT.

Johor Darul Ta'zim say they are ready for the Charity Cup, the opening game of the 2016 Malaysia Super League (MSL) season against Selangor on Saturday, after completing their transfer business just days before the start of the new campaign.

The Southern Tigers lifted the MSL title last August and finally unveiled the last member of their foreign contingent just ahead of the big kickoff against the Malaysia Cup holders.

Argentine Juan Martin Lucero is the fourth import at the club and replaces Brazilian Paulo Rangel who was demoted to JDT II ahead of the new season. Club owner Tunku Ismail Sultan Ibrahim is happy with the new recruit and looking forward to the new season.

"The announcement is quite late," Tunku Ismail told Berita Harian.

"But we needed to make sure he really joined JDT legally, with the paperwork and verification done professionally."

JDT vs. Geylang at Larkin
JDT warmed up for the season with a 2-1 victory over Geylang International last month. (Photo credit: Geylang International)

The owner added that the 2015 AFC Cup champions had to fight off interest from elsewhere as they land the 24 year-old who signs from Independiente. Uruguayan giants Penarol were rumoured to be chasing the player who broke on to the scene in his homeland in 2010 with 24 goals in 34 games for second tier Defensay Justicia.

"We are very privileged to get Lucero, despite many other clubs from around the world competing to get his signature," he said.

"This shows our growing reputation on the world stage."

Lucero is just the latest in an increasing number of Argentine imports to turn out for JDT. As well as Pablo Aimar and Luciano Figueroa, head coach Mario Gomez also hails from the South American country.

Lucero completes the foreign contingent at the club, alongside Brazilian defender Marcos Antonio, Hariss Harun from Singapore in midfield and Argentina's Jorge Pereyra Diaz in attack.

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