Al Jazira are open to cashing in on UAE international Ali Mabkhout amid strong interest from Saudi Professional League giants Al Ittihad, according to reports.
Mabkhout, 28, has emerged as one of Asia’s premier strikers. He was leading marksmen at Asian Cup 2015 and sits fourth on the Arabian Gulf League’s all-time scorers list with 128 goals in 169 run-outs.
The Pride of Abu Dhabi have in the past rejected advances from European and Saudi outfits. This time, however, Abu Dhabi Sports have stated they will sell to an Ittihad eager to ensure their struggles of 2018/19 are not repeated – if the price is right.
This stance follows tweets from respected commentator Amer Abdulla.
“I have received a lot of inquiries about the subject of the transfer of the star Ali Mabkhout to the Saudi club,” he posted.
“As I have confirmed, a telephone call was made by a member of the Ittihad board to an official at Al Jazira.
“It showed a desire to contract with Mabkhout. They were asked to make a formal offer and in principle, [Jazira] do not mind if the offer is fit for a big star.”
Big-spending Ittihad looked bound for a first relegation in their 92-year history, until a late resurgence under returning boss Jose Luis Sierra saw them finish 10th in the SPL.
They are now looking to revamp a lavishly assembled squad that critically underperformed for much of the previous campaign.
Links to Jazira were strengthened last summer when they landed Brazilian forward Romarinho from them for €7m.
Mabkhout will depart as a legend of UAE football, if the move goes through. His current tally of 19 goals in 18 AGL appearances puts him joint-second in the 2018/19 scoring list.
It would also represent the second-successive summer that an elite Emirati talent was lost to the Kingdom. 2016 AFC Player of the Year Omar Abdulrahman exited Al Ain and joined Al Hilal on a controversial free transfer in August.
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