Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 24 August 2019

Yahya Al Ghassani 'would love to play in Europe' as talks take place with Burnley and German clubs

The Al Wahda winger has stated he is ready to step up to the challenge should a transfer materialise

Yahya Al Ghassani, centre, is attracting attention from clubs in Europe, including Premier League side Burnley. Al Wahda
Yahya Al Ghassani, centre, is attracting attention from clubs in Europe, including Premier League side Burnley. Al Wahda

Al Wahda’s Yahya Al Ghassani said he is “100 per cent ready” to play in Europe after revealing that talks are taking place with German Bundesliga clubs and Premier League side Burnley.

Al Ghassani, 21, has been linked in recent days with a potential move to Europe, and the winger has stated that he is ready to step up to the challenge should a transfer materialise.

“The talks are between the clubs and I have no idea what’s going on, but if I get a break, I definitely would love to play in Europe. I'm 100 per cent ready,” Al Ghassani told The National.

“All I’m aware of right now is that a few clubs from Germany and a Premier League side are in talks with my club, with whom I have a contract until 2023.”

Al Ghassani’s football journey has been far from straightforward. He first joined Dubai’s Al Ahli at 15 years old, but left when the club was restructured as Shabab Al Ahli in May 2017. Considered at one point by Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain and Spanish clubs Malaga and Leganes, Al Ghassani joined Ligue 2 outfit Paris FC on a three-month contract.

He joined Wahda at the beginning of the 2018/19 season on a one-year deal, and after impressing, was awarded a fresh contract until 2023.

Al Ghassani was born to an Emirati mother and a father who holds Tanzanian and Omani passports. He made history by becoming the first player of a non-Emirati father to play in the Arabian Gulf League outside the quota reserved for foreigners.

President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed issued a decree last November allowing children of foreign men married to Emirati women, as well as those born in the UAE, to register to play for sports clubs and, potentially, represent the country.

The Wahda winger hopes the Presidential decree will help him realise his other objective of playing for the UAE national team.

“I’m waiting for that opportunity,” Al Ghassani said. “The opportunity provided by Wahda changed my life as a footballer. Obviously, I want to play for the national team, and of course everyone wants to play in Europe, and I’m not an exception.”

Al Ghassani will join Wahda's pre-season training camp in the Netherlands, which will be part of their preparations for the new season, starting with the Asian Champions League last-16 tie against Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia on August 5.

“I have already started training for the new season and left my club to deal with those who have shown interest on me,” Al Ghassani said.

“Wahda provided me the opportunity by taking me on board and that was good for me. So, I’ll go with what my club decide because at the end of the day, it has to benefit me and my club.”

Updated: June 22, 2019 05:10 PM

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