JDT sign ex-La Liga midfielder Natxo Insa as local player in MSL

Johor Darul Ta'zim (JDT) continue to bolster their squad in the Malaysia Super League (MSL) mid-season transfer window by acquiring Spanish midfielder Ignacio "Natxo" Insa Bohigues.

The 30-year-old, who has played 20 games in La Liga, will qualify as a local player due to his Malaysian grandmother. He is the older brother of Pahang's naturalised midfielder Kiko Insa.

The signing comes less than a month after JDT signed Lebanese striker Mohammed Ghaddar for a record fee and just a week after their painful exit from the AFC Cup at the hands of Ceres-Negros.

Insa, who had stints in Spain with the likes of Valencia, Villarreal and Celta Viga, was recruited for a reported fee of €400,000.

"Surely, having a footballer with more experience and playing at the top level as a local player is a huge advantage," JDT said via their Johor Southern Tigers Facebook page.

JDT have already retained the services of Argentines Gabriel Guerra and Gonzalo Cabrera plus Brazilian Marcos Antonio.

With Ghaddar as their Asian import, the league leaders have reached the limit of four import players per team in the MSL.

Insa's arrival will add more depth to a JDT midfield that already boasts former Malaysia captain Safiq Rahim and ex-Boca Juniors product Cabrera for the remainder of the Malaysia Super League (MSL) season.

Having started his career with Valencia B in 2006, Insa graduated to the first team, but made only one appearance.

After playing 75 league games for Villarreal, mostly in the second team, he made the switch to Celta Vigo in 2011. He had a memorable stint, scoring the winning goal on the final day of the 2012-13 La Liga season to save them from relegation.

The 30-year-old also played a season with Turkish side Antalyaspor before his first foray to Asia.

Insa should be available for selection when JDT resume their assault on a fourth consecutive league title, beginning with the trip to Penang on July 1.

They have a six-point lead over their closest rivals Pahang and Kedah after 13 games of the 2017 MSL season.