Al Ahli’s 18-year-old Iraqi midfielder, Humam Tariq, is the subject of a trial offer from Scottish champions Celtic, according to his agent.
Tariq, his country’s youngest international, is yet to play for the Red Knights having only signed for the Arabian Gulf League title holders at the end of last season.
Despite his lack of a single appearance for the Dubai club, his talent has not put off potential suitors following a string of impressive performances for Iraq in his fifteen caps to date.
Not only that, his performances in the Iraqi Premier League have been startling.
Tariq managed 21 goals in 46 appearances during his three years with former club Al-Quwa Al-Jawiya, form that alerted the attention of Ahli boss Cosmin Olaroiu.
“Celtic sent a request to me and Al Ahli,” Tariq’s agent Najim Abed Mohamad told Sport360°. “They want to invite him for a trial.”
Tariq’s Celtic adventure is certainly not set in stone and Olaroiu will assess the player during a pre-season training camp in Italy before making any decision on the player’s future.
“He signed a two-year contract with Al Ahli who are now going to take him to Italy for the manager to have a look at him,” added Mohamad. “After that, (Olaroiu) will decide on his future.”
Tariq was named Iraqi Player of the Year in 2012 at just 16 and went on to play for Iraq in the final of the 2013 Gulf Cup of Nations where his side was defeated by the UAE.
New of Celtic’s interest was first reported by Scottish newspaper, The Scotsman who even quoted Olaroiu as saying: “We have received a formal offer from Celtic. We travel to a training camp in Germany this month. During this time, we will sit down and assess Humam’s situation and decide whether we will accept the offer from the Scottish club.”
Bani Yas have put their faith in returning midfielder Amer Abdulrahman by handing the UAE star a new two-year contract extension.
Abdulrahman, who spent a week on trial at English Championship side Blackburn 12 months ago, saw a serious injury restrict him to just three Arabian Gulf League appearances last season.
However, despite interest from several rival club’s the 25-year-old has rewarded Al Samawi for their loyalty and support through his rehabilitation in Europe, by penning a new deal that will keep him in Al Shamkha until 2017.
“Amer Abdulrahman is an outstanding example for the players, whether in the stadium or outside,” said Hashim Osman Al Mohammed, Bani Yas’ director of the Information Office.
“This step taken by him shows his love for the club and for the place that he has grown up, as also the club stand by his side throughout the previous years.”
Al Mohammed added that Bani Yas “would not spare any effort in order to achieve Amer’s hopes and his future plans.”
Meanwhile, Al Wahda have rubbished reports that they are on the verge of signing former Italy striker Amauri from Parma.
Amauri’s representatives met with intermediaries who claimed to be working on behalf of the Abu Dhabi club, with the 34-year-old intimating that he would be open to a move to the UAE.
The Brazil-born forward is waiting for a concrete offer, but when contacted last night Wahda strongly denied that they had any interest in the ex-Juventus man.
One player who could yet have a future at the Al Nahyan Stadium though, is Chilean midfielder Marco Estrada.
The 31-year-old is expected to return to training with the rest of the Wahda squad next Saturday, sitting down with coach Jose Peseiro to discuss his future.
Estrada returned to Chile at the end of February after picking up a knee injury, losing his place in the squad to Morocco midfielder Adil Hermach.
“Until now we will continue with the same players, with Adil. We don’t know what the coach will plan,” Wahda chairman Aref Al Awani said.
Al Jazira first team manager Ayed Mabkhout has admitted the club are on the lookout for an Emirati defender – but stopped short of saying a deal for Mohanad Salem was done.
The Abu Dhabi club returned to training last night amid rumours of a bid for the Al Ain centre-back, who has not travelled with the rest of his club mates to Italy.
With his older brother Mohammed on Jazira’s backroom staff, a move to the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium would therefore seem plausible.
However, while Mabkhout revealed the Pride of Abu Dhabi were keen to bring in a local defender, he insisted that the players at the disposal of new coach Eric Gerets were already good enough.
“We are looking for players who add value to the team, defenders,” he said. “If we can find any player who can add good value to the team and he is free or his club have no problem to transfer him to us, we can bring him here.
“But until now there is nothing. We have a lot of good quality here in the team and we are happy with them and are going with them, Inshallah.”
When asked specifically about Salem, who would appear to fit that criteria, Mabkhout added: “There is a lot of news and you will hear it on Mohanad and other players also, but until now Mohanad is not here.”
Gerets oversaw his first training session in Abu Dhabi last night as a group of 35 players – including some youngsters from the academy – were put through a light workout.
The 60-year-old Belgian will be given time to evaluate the merits of the squad with two friendlies bef-ore Jazira depart for a pre-season tour of Switzerland on August 3.
Neither of the club’s two new signings, Mirko Vucinic and Jonathan Pitroipa, nor striker Ali Mabkhout, were at the Mohammed bin Zayed Stadium.
Vucinic and Pitroipa, signed at the end of last week from Juventus and Rennes respectively, are expected to join up with their new team-mates by the end of this week.
Both arrive in the UAE with big reputations and Mabkhout is hopeful they can help the club’s push for a second league title.
“We are expecting a lot of things from them,” he added. “Vucinic and Pitroipa are well known players and were selected with the consultation of the coach. Of course Vucinic played in Italy, and with a big team, so we are expecting the maximum from him.
“Pitroipa took the best player [award] in the 2013 Africa Cup of Nations, so we are looking for the best from the best.”
When they do arrive, the pair will join Jucilei and Abdelaziz Barrada as the club’s allotted four foreigners.
Barrada was the recipient of a bouquet of flowers, and a round of the bumps, from his team-mates at the end of last night’s session following his wedding in France last month.