Waasland-Beveren sign Nigeria midfielder Reuben Gabriel

By Oluwashina OkelejiBBC Sport
Reuben Gabriel (second from right)

Belgian side Waasland-Beveren have signed Nigeria international midfielder Reuben Gabriel on a free transfer.

His decision comes despite the prospect of an offer from English Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur.

He had been training with Spurs and had begun discussions to join them and then be loaned immediately.

"I'm pleased and excited with this move," the 23-year-old told BBC Sport about his switch to Waasland-Beveren on a one-and-a-half-year deal.

"This club and league is a good platform for me to develop my football further.

"It's a positive step in my career and I want to give my best to the club and fans."

Gabriel is a free agent after terminating his contract at Kilmarnock following a series of disputes with the Scottish Premier League club.

The Belgian offer was too good to turn down, according to the player's agent Tony Harris.

"We had to pull him out of the arranged Spurs training abruptly because the offer from Belgium was interesting and presented a great opportunity for Gabriel in many ways," Harris told BBC Sport.

"Everything was, however, done in a professional and amicable way and Tottenham will have first refusal on the player."

Gabriel, who is greatly admired by Nigeria coach Stephen Keshi, is keen to play for his country at this summer's World Cup in Brazil.

The versatile midfielder has made 10 appearances and scored once for the Super Eagles.

Two-time Belgian champions Beveren had a remarkable history of developing young African talent, before their 2010 merger with neighbours Red Star Waasland.

Ivory Coast stars Yaya Toure, Gervinho and Emmanuel Eboue all started their European careers at the club popularly known as 'Little Anderlecht'.

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