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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 September 2018

Nice appear to give up pursuit of UAE playmaker Omar Abdulrahman

French club were keen to sign the Al Ain star on loan but are now on the verge of completing a deal for Dutch midfielder Welsey Sneijder.

Omar Abdulrahman, centre, was a transfer target for French club Nice. Manan Vatsyayana / AFP
Omar Abdulrahman, centre, was a transfer target for French club Nice. Manan Vatsyayana / AFP

Nice have seemingly given up their pursuit of Al Ain playmaker Omar Abdulrahman after the French club confirmed Dutch midfielder Wesley Sneijder is on the verge of completing a move.

Nice had reportedly enquired about the availability of Abdulrahman in June, with the Ligue 1 side keen to take the UAE midfielder on a season-long loan with the option to make the move permanent.

A letter obtained by The National last month appeared to show Nice requesting to enter negotiations with Al Ain over Abdulrahman. The Arabian Gulf League club subsequently rejected Nice's advances.

Nice had hoped the lure of Uefa Champions League football, for which they qualified last week, would convince Al Ain and Abdulrahman to strike a deal.

Despite the initial setback, Nice retained their interest in the Emirati midfielder, and had given Al Ain a deadline of this weekend to accept an improved loan offer. The National had been told that Sneijder was being lined up as an alternative.

And it appears that Nice have focused their efforts on Sneijder having posted on Twitter that the former Real Madrid, Inter Milan and Galatasaray midfielder had arrived in France to undertake a medical ahead of a move.

It is not the first time an opportunity to join a European club has been offered to Abdulrahman. The reigning Asian Player of the year had previously attracted interest from a number of leading clubs including Arsenal, Hamburg, Valencia and Benfica. In 2013, he claimed he turned down the opportunity to move to the Portuguese side during that year's winter transfer window.

Abdulrahman signed a new contract in February 2015 to keep him at Al Ain until next year – a deal that was thought to make him the highest-earning Emirati player in UAE football.

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