Algeria centre-back Madjid Bougherra has confirmed that he would be interested in a move to the Arabian Gulf League this summer when his contract at Qatari side Lekhwiya runs out.
Bougherra is looking for a new adventure having spent the last three years with the Qatar Stars League champions and admitted that UAE clubs have already registered interest in his services.
Speaking to Sport360° at an adidas photoshoot in Dubai, the former Rangers man expressed his desire to remain in the Middle East.
“I’ve had a nice three years [in Qatar] and now my contract is finished. I am thinking about which challenge I am going to take, but I think my favourite direction is to stay in the Gulf,” said Bougherra. “
Yes, why not [play in the AGL]. Right now I have some opportunities in Qatar, Saudi [Arabia] and the UAE. We’ll see.”
Asked whether he had already received offers from AGL clubs, Bougherra replied: “Not yet. I have had some interest but I don’t want to push too much yet. I have told my agent I want to finish my season with Lekhwiya first, then go to the World Cup and after that we will see.”
As for Bougherra’s potential destination were he to move to the UAE, he made it clear that only a team fighting for honours would interest him, having won five league titles in the last six years with both Rangers (3) and Lekhwiya (2).
“I am going to take my time and take a good challenge as I want to play for titles, I don’t want to play for nothing as I am a competitor.”
The 31-year-old’s desire to win trophies and the wage that he can command in his next contract mean that any potential transfer to the UAE is fairly limited.
Al Ahli have run riot over the course of the past year but their squad is settled and in Hugo Viana, Ciel and Grafite they have some of the best foreign players in the league.
Walter Zenga’s Al Jazira side will be looking to build on a good 2013- 14 season next time around and are fairly light on the ground at the back so may be an option.
Hyung Min Chin also seems to be heading out of the club, which would open up a slot among Jazira’s foreign quota.
Garden City outfit Al Ain will also be desperate to return to the top of the AGL and will have the financial muscle to not only tempt Bougherra but blow many of their rivals out of the water.
With Alex Brosque and Mirel Radoi on their way out of Al Ain, they will be in the market for replacements and be best placed to make a move.
Bougherra also faced Al Ain with his Lekhwiya side in the Champions League group stages, showing them who’s Boss by winning both fixtures, including a 5-0 demolition in Qatar.
During these games Bougherra was impressed by Al Ain’s fans, an association that may bode well for both parties come the end of the season.
“In the Emirates they also have more fans than Qatar. When you go to the stadium they have more passion, but the level I feel is the same.”