x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Al Ain say they have not received any formal bids for Omar Abdulrahman

Everton, Southampton, Roma, Lyon and Celtic among clubs reportedly interested in Emirati star

Al Ain's Omar Abdulrahman, left, pictured during an Asian Champions League against Iran's Tractor Sazi at Yadegar Emam Stadium in Tabriz on April 1, 2014, is reportedly on the radar of several European clubs. AFP
Al Ain's Omar Abdulrahman, left, pictured during an Asian Champions League against Iran's Tractor Sazi at Yadegar Emam Stadium in Tabriz on April 1, 2014, is reportedly on the radar of several European clubs. AFP

The chairman of the Al Ain board of directors said yesterday the club will have no comment on the possibility of Omar Abdulrahman making a move to a European club until a formal offer is received.

The 22-year-old midfielder’s name was again connected with prominent sides in recent days, this time clubs from England, Italy, France and Scotland.

“We don’t want to comment on speculations or on news appearing in the media,” Sheikh Abdullah bin Mohammed said through a team communications officer. “If any club approaches us officially, we are ready to speak. No club has spoken to us or written to us.”

Last week, Sky Sports reported that among the clubs “keeping tabs” on Abdulrahman were Everton and Southampton of the Premier League, Roma of Serie A, Lyon of France’s Ligue 1 and Scottish giants Celtic.

Last month, Saudi media reported the Riyadh side Al Hilal were considering a US$17 million (Dh62.4 million) bid for Abdulrahman. In February, an English newspaper reported that Liverpool were following Abdulrahman with interest.

Abdulrahman caught the world’s attention during the 2012 London Olympics, when he was one of the most prominent players in the Emirati side.

Luis Suarez, whose Uruguay team had to overcome a 1-0 deficit to defeat the UAE 2-1 at Old Trafford, traded shirts with Abdulrahman after the match. The Emirati said: “He came to me and asked if I would like to give him my shirt, and I agreed because I treat him like a brother.”

Soon after, Abdulrahman spent a week training with Manchester City.

No Emirati has played a first-team match with a European side. Hamdan Al Kamali, the Al Wahda defender, trained with Lyon’s reserve team for the second half of the 2011/12 season, before returning to the UAE.

Abdulrahman likely will get further attention when Al Ain play Manchester City in a friendly at the Hazza bin Zayed Stadium on May 15.

apassela@thenational.ae

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