Omar Abdulrahman Europe move on hold again as Al Ain claim star is 'staying with the club' for 2018/19

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Omar Abdulrahman (l) and Zoran Mamic (c) appear set to extend at Arabian Gulf League champions Al Ain (Al Ain).

Omar Abdulrahman’s long-predicted move to Europe appears no closer to fruition after chairman Ghanem Al Hajeri declared Al Ain’s prized asset is “staying with the club” for 2018/19.

Abdulrahman, 26, has been the crown jewel of UAE football since he made his debut for the Boss in 2008. A permanent deal in 2012 at Premier League giants Manchester City broke down because of work-permit issues following a successful trial, while Ligue 1’s Nice last summer became the latest in a long line of sides to fail to make him the first Emirati to permanently join one of the west’s major competitions.

Fresh hope about a historic switch to the game’s traditional heartland for the 2016 AFC Player of the Year has grown because of an inability to extend a contract that expires this summer. But an agreement now appears a matter of time with the newly-crowned Arabian Gulf League champions.

“I can confirm that Amoory is staying with the club for the next season, where we are faced with the most important challenges,” said Al Hajeri.

“The most important is competing in the Club World Cup, from which we have already started working.

“There is also the AFC Champions League, and the goals of Al Ain require every player to be in the team.”

Another key figure in the Garden City yet to officially renew is coach Zoran Mamic.

The ex-Croatia defender, 46, inked terms for one-and-a-half years upon arrival from Saudi Arabia’s Al Nassr in February 2017.

Al Hajeri reinforced Mamic’s statement last week to media in his home country that he will stay.

He said: “The agreement with coach Zoran reached an advanced stage, being about 90 per cent complete.

“Zoran has done a good job, with record numbers.

“We heard the technical analysis of Zoran’s performance, which caused great confusion among the fans of Al Ain, and we heard that Zoran is less than Al Ain.

“Even as a football company, we are surprised by some decisions of the coach and his training idea. But we must believe in the abilities of others, we pay him money to do his work and we came to believe in Zoran’s work with the team.”

Al Ain will seek to complete a domestic double on Thursday when they meet Al Wasl in the President’s Cup final. They then face QNB Stars League winners Al Duhail in the 2018 AFC Champions League’s round of 16.

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Kalidou Koulibaly headlines our Rumour Mill as Chelsea plan raid for Napoli powerhouse

David Cooper 29/04/2018
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Though the summer transfer window is still a couple of months away, that hasn’t stopped the rumours of players potentially being on the move.

Across the world of football, there remains plenty of activity and stories that have football fans talking.

Here, we look at the latest transfer deals that could happen when the market reopens in June.

Get in touch with your thoughts too via Twitter and Facebook.

KALIDOU KOULIBALY

Chelsea are still monitoring the Napoli defender and could pounce for their long-term target as soon as the transfer window opens in June.

According to Tuttosport, the Blues view the 26-year-old powerhouse as a like-for-like replacement for the ageing Gary Cahill and have the funds available to meet his £80million (Dh404m) valuation.

Napoli, who are still pushing Juventus hard in the Serie A title race, are fearful they could lose several of their top stars in the close season should coach Maurizio Sarri not receive assurances from the board that they have the financial muscle in place to compete with the Old Lady again.

Senegal international Koulibaly, who has grown into being one of the standout centre-backs in world football, is set to make a call on his future once this campaign wraps up.

NAPLES, ITALY - MARCH 03: Kalidou Koulibaly of SSC Napoli in action during the serie A match between SSC Napoli and AS Roma - Serie A at Stadio San Paolo on March 3, 2018 in Naples, Italy. (Photo by Francesco Pecoraro/Getty Images)

Naples star: Koulibaly.

SOKRATIS PAPASTATHOPOULOS

Arsenal, Juventus and AC Milan will lock horns to land the Borussia Dortmund ace this summer, Sport Bild reports.

The 29-year-old Greek centre-back, who spent two seasons playing with the Rossoneri between 2010-2012, is highly-rated and admired for his consistency at the back.

An offer in the region of £20m (Dh100m) could be enough to convince the Westfalenstadion club to move him on, though Papastathopoulos is thought to be happy at the Black and Yellows.

Milan are believed to have the upper hand in the chase for his signature given their previous connection with the player.

DORTMUND, GERMANY - APRIL 21: Sokratis Papastathopoulos #25 of Borussia Dortmund controls the ball during the Bundesliga match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayer 04 Leverkusen at Signal Iduna Park on April 21, 2018 in Dortmund, Germany. (Photo by Maja Hitij/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Papastathopoulos is a mainstay in defence for Dortmund.

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Sergej Milinkovic-Savic headlines our Rumour Mill as Tottenham eye Lazio midfielder

David Cooper 29/04/2018
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Though the summer transfer window is still a couple of months away, that hasn’t stopped the rumours of players potentially being on the move.

Across the world of football, there remains plenty of activity and stories that have football fans talking.

Here, we look at the latest transfer deals that could happen when the market reopens in June.

Get in touch with your thoughts too via Twitter and Facebook.

SERGEI MILINKOVIC-SAVIC 

Tottenham have made the Lazio midfielder one of their key summer transfer targets, along with his club team-mate Ciro Immobile.

According to The Mirror, Mauricio Pochettino has laid out plans to strengthen his Spurs outfit ahead of next season but may have to trim his squad in other areas to make room.

A combined bid for Milinkovic-Savic and Immobile would amount to over £100 million (Dh500m) and while funds are expected to be made available by Whites hierarchy, potential exits for Danny Rose, Victor Wanyama and Toby Alderweireld would increase the warchest.

Lazio are thought to be prepared to cash in on the duo, especially if the Biancocelesti fail in their quest to secure Champions League football.

ROME, ITALY - APRIL 22: Sergej Milinkovic with his teammate Ciro Immobile of SS Lazio celebrates after scoring the opening goal during the serie A match between SS Lazio and UC Sampdoria at Stadio Olimpico on April 22, 2018 in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Paolo Bruno/Getty Images)

Star duo: Sergej Milinkovic-Savic and Ciro Immobile.

DANIELE RUGANI

Arsenal have made an initial enquiry to bring the Juventus defender to the Emirates, according to CalcioMercato.com.

The Gunners’ preparation for next term has begun in earnest, with key decisions over an incoming new manager and the make-up of the squad next term to be made in due course.

Italian Rugani is just one of several men linked with a switch to the North London giants and is likely to be available, given he has struggled to hold down a regular first-team berth in Massimiliano Allegri’s side.

The 23-year-old centre-back, who first signed for the Old Lady back in 2012 but spent subsequent campaigns on loan at Empoli, is thought to be available for a price tag of  €40m (Dh178m).

Barcelona's Argentinian forward Lionel Messi (R) vies with Juventus' defender from Italy Daniele Rugani during the UEFA Champions League Group D football match Juventus Barcelona on November 22, 2017 at the Juventus stadium in Turin. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

Rugani marshals Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi in the Champions League.

CESC FABREGAS

The Chelsea playmaker has dismissed speculation that he is set to leave Stamford Bridge at the end of the season.

Amid a difficult campaign for the Blues, reports have suggested the former Arsenal and Barcelona midfielder could depart as club owner Roman Abramovich plans a summer revamp at the West London giants.

However, 30-year-old Fabregas, in a recent interview with Spanish radio station Cadena COPE confirmed that he will be remaining a Chelsea player.

This will come as good news to the club’s fanbase, with fears that the Spaniard could move on if Antonio Conte gets the chop.

Chance for Fabregas to impress against old club.

Fabregas has has a hit and miss season with the 2017 Premier League winners.

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