Al Ain want to keep captain Omar Abdulrahman at the club 'for as long as possible'
The UAE playmaker, the Asian Player of the Year, is out of contract at the conclusion of this season
Al Ain say they have not initiated negotiations with Omar Abdulrahman regarding a new contract, but are intent on retaining their captain "for as long as possible".
The UAE playmaker, the Asian Player of the Year, is out of contract at the conclusion of this season and has long been linked with a transfer outside of the Arabian Gulf League.
French side Nice made an offer for Abdulrahman this summer, initially a loan deal with the view to a permanent switch, but the move never materialised.
Abdulrahman, who has been with Al Ain since making his debut in 2008, has previously spoken about his desire to test his talent in Europe, although he has also remained committed to the Garden City club.
With his deal expiring next summer, the midfielder is sure to attract yet more attention. However, Al Ain seem confident Abdulrahman, who is recovering from an ankle injury, will continue with the club beyond his current contract.
"We did not sit with him to discuss the renewal,” board member Mohammed Obaid Hammad told the Arabic press. “Omar is currently injured and needs rehabilitation. Al Ain are certainly looking to keep the player as long as possible, and Omar is a distinguished player and one of the main pillars of the team and the national team.
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"Omar’s relationship with Al Ain is more than just a contract, more than just paper. Things are good between the parties, and Omar has confirmed this in previous press statements. All I can say is that things are good between us.”
Asked about the possibility of allowing Abdulrahman to leave should another bid come in, Hammad said: “We are in the professional world. If Omar has a serious offer and there is a common interest between the player and the club, I do not think there is a barrier.
"I would support every player who gets a suitable offer that is also suitable for Al Ain Club.”
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Updated: October 3, 2017 01:53 PM