Omar Abdulrahman has agreed to delay a historic permanent switch to Europe, according to the Al Ain hierarchy.
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.