Abdelaziz Barrada could be on his way out of Al Jazira after the club received two offers from Europe, although the Abu Dhabi side have ruled out a move for Robinho as the Moroccan’s replacement.
Barrada moved to Jazira 12 months ago for a fee in the region of $10m (Dhs36.7m) and the 25-year-old enjoyed an impressive maiden season, scoring 10 goals in 22 games to help his team to a third-place league finish.
However, the former Getafe star could be making a swift exit from the UAE after Jazira confirmed to Sport360° they had received offers from French club Marseille and Portuguese giants Porto.
“Bids have been made for Barrada – one from Marseille and one from Porto,” a source close to Al Jazira told Sport360°. “That does not mean he will definitely leave.
“He is with the rest of the squad in Switzerland preparing for the new season. We are happy to keep him and no decision has yet been made.”
Should Barrada return to Europe, Al Jazira insist the playmaker will not be replaced by Brazilian forward Robinho, despite reports to the contrary.
Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli have held talks with Robinho’s agent over a move to Dubai. It has been claimed Jazira have identified the 30-year-old as Barrada’s potential replacement and were prepared to hijack the deal.
However, the links to the AC Milan forward have been strongly denied.
“No, Jazira will not be making any attempt to sign Robinho,” the source said. “If Barrada leaves, there is no interest in signing Robinho.
“Remember there is no guarantee Barrada will leave. The club want him to stay.”
Santos have emerged as Al Ahli's main rivals for Brazilian striker Robinho after his agent revealed a return to the Brazilian club is "certainly a possibility."
Sport360 understand Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ahli have held talks with Robinho's agent Marisa Ramos, who was in Dubai this week to discuss a move.
Santos had previously been linked with the former Manchester City and Real Madrid forward, although the process had collapsed over wage demands.
However, Ramos has insisted a return to the club Robinho began his career – and spent a spell on loan in 2010 – remained a possibility.
“Yes, Santos are certainly a possibility for Robinho,” she told Calciomercato.com.
“However, we are waiting, as nothing has been decided or completed. We are evaluating every hypothesis.
“At the moment, nothing has been sorted out for Robinho’s new club.”
Meanwhile, Sport360 has been informed Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero is interested in a move to the UAE despite the veteran striker failing to secure a switch to Al Nasr this summer.
Juventus legend Alessandro Del Piero is interested in a move to the UAE despite the veteran striker failing to secure a switch to Al Nasr this summer, Sport360° have been informed.
Del Piero – Juve’s leading all-time goal-scorer – admitted this week that he is on the lookout for a new club following the end of his contract with Australian side Sydney FC.
And Sport360° have learned that the 39-year-old had been offered to Al Nasr during the current off-season, although the Blue Wave opted for Macedonian forward Ivan Tričkovski.
Despite the setback, Del Piero is keeping his options open and a move to the Arabian Gulf League remains an attractive proposition to the Italy legend.
“Alessandro is interested in a move to UAE football,” a source close to Del Piero told Sport360°. “He was offered to Al Nasr but they decided against signing him.
“The issue that faces any potential deal is that most of the big clubs with the financial power to bring him over have already done their transfer business for this season.”
Despite his huge standing in the game, Del Piero’s advancing years would have worked against him given UAE clubs’ reluctance to sign players in the twilight of their careers.
During his distinguished 19-year career at Juventus, Del Piero became the club’s leading goal-scorer with 188 Serie A goals from a club-record 478 appearances.
The Italian won six Serie A titles (excluding the 2005 and 2006 titles that were revoked), the 1995 Coppa Italia and the 1996 UEFA Champions League.
Del Piero also excelled on the international stage over a 13-year period, helping Italy to the 2006 World Cup and runner-up at the 2000 European Championship.
He is currently preparing to lead an All-Star A-League team against his old club Juventus on Saturday.