x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 September 2017

Al Shabab claim transfer talks with Michael Owen are still ongoing

The former Real Madrid and Manchester United striker remains an 'option' for the Dubai side, despite contradictory statements over transfer discussions.

Al Shabab officials say talks are at an advanced stage.
Al Shabab officials say talks are at an advanced stage.

DUBAI // Michael Owen is still an "option" for Al Shabab as they deliberate on their two new foreign recruits for next season.

A final decision is expected to be made in a week's time.

Owen, who was released by Manchester United at the end of last season, reportedly wants to end his career in the UAE and his agent Simon Marsh was in the country last week, holding talks with different clubs, including Shabab.

Officials at the Dubai club have made contradictory public statements since that meeting, with the vice president Khalid bu Humaid saying Owen does not fit in the club's plans for next season.

However, Saeed Al Marri, the club's executive director, insists they are still discussing the merits of signing the former England international and have not discarded him from the list of potential recruits.

"Owen has been offered to Shabab and some other clubs in the UAE and we sat to discuss a lot of things," Al Marri said yesterday.

"He is an option for us, but this deal will go through in two-three stages. We have to see what he can do for us and whether he can help us and then evaluate how much he will cost us and whether he is worth the money, so the board has been discussing this issue and the issue of the other foreign players."

Shabab, who finished third in the Pro League last season, are looking for two foreign players to add to the squad to replace the Brazilian striker Kieza and the injured Carlos Villanueva, who is not expected to return from knee surgery before December.

"Right now, negotiations have reached an advanced level with the foreign players we hope to sign, and maybe in a week's time we will make everything clear," Al Marri said.

"The board has a few more things to discuss and then we will make a decision based on which player is best for us who will fit into the kind of scheme" the new coach Marcos Paqueta has for the club.

Shabab yesterday unveiled the two Emirati players they have signed, Abdullah Issa from Al Shaab and the Al Ahli striker Abdullah Abdulrahman.

Shabab also are negotiating with Ajman for their UAE Under 22 national team striker Abdullah Aljmahy as they look to strengthen the bench ahead of a busy season.

"We have some players coming from our academy and we are preparing them for important roles in the future," Al Marri said.

arizvi@thenational.ae

twitter Follow us @SprtNationalUAE