Man City admit they're still chasing UAE's Abdulrahman
Manchester City officials remain in contact with Omar Abdulrahman and are monitoring his development, the club’s academy chief Brian Marwood has told Sport360°.
Abdulrahman – who is a doubt for The Boss’ AFC Champions League tie against Esteghlal in Iran on Wednesday – spent two weeks on trial in Manchester last August.
Work permit regulations made a permanent move a non-starter then, but Marwood revealed the club’s player care department have kept in touch with the 21-year-old.
“We had seen him at various tournaments but obviously we saw him closer to home at the Olympics and he did very, very well,” said Marwood, speaking after his appearance at Abu Dhabi Sports Council’s Football Development Workshop.
“Our chairman organised for him to come over and spend some time with us.
“I think he enjoyed the experience, we enjoyed having him with us. He is a very talented young player.
“There are some real challenges getting a player like him to be able to play in England which is very frustrating because it’s one that we would seriously look at.
“But we continue to monitor him, we keep in touch with him, we are aware of how he’s developing. He’s come back here and done very well and is a real talent.”
City may have made the first move, but they are by no means the only club interested in his services.
Al Ain team manager Mohammed Obeid Hammad last week confirmed Spanish club Valencia were planning to send a team to the Garden City next month, while Benfica have seen an approach rejected by the player and Arsenal, Barcelona, Malaga and Hamburg are all watching Abdulrahman closely.
Having watched him at close quarters, Marwood is in no doubt he has the talent to make the move west, a view shared by Abdulrahman's club boss Cosmin Olariou and UAE's manager Mahdi Ali.
“Why not?” replied Marwood when asked if the youngster was good enough for Europe.
“Technically, he is very, very good so he has those components, those ingredients. Obviously, it’s a much more physical game but he’s still young, he can develop those aspects of his performance.
“He played at a very good level at the Olympics and he did very well when he came to us on trial. He impressed everybody, a very nice young man, and he showed a lot of respect for the club.”
Abdulrahman and his Al Ain team-mates departed the UAE for Iran on Sunday night to give themselves maximum time to adapt ahead of Wednesday’s clash with Esteghlal.