Arsenal in pole position to sign 'Arabian Messi'

Arsenal are taking 21-year-old Omar Abdulrahman on trial this week according to several reports, which puts them in pole position to sign him.

Abdulrahman is one of the most highly sought after and highly rated midfielders outside Europe at the moment, with bags of potential and tags which have already led to descriptions such as the ‘Arabian Messi’.

Arsenal hold all of the power at the moment taking him on trial because they have the natural option of being able to go to Al-Ain and the player himself, making offers for him if the trial goes well and Arsene Wenger likes what he sees.

The logic behind Arsenal targeting a player like this is a bit hazy considering the quality the Gunners already have in central midfield, which means there’s little point in them adding another body to that area of the squad.

Abdulrahman’s potential and talent has made him one of the biggest stars in the Middle East, which seems to have caught the attention of several top, high profile clubs who would love to be in the position Arsenal currently find themselves in.

Arsenal also have the added bonus in any race for the player of having such strong commercial links with Fly Emirates. The idea of the UAE's most popular sportsmen playing at a stadium sponsored by the country's national airline is intoxicating.

Arsenal will have preconceptions over signing him, which is why the trial is so important because it allows Wenger to take a much closer look at whether Abdulrahman is the sort of player who could make the grade at the North London club.

The trial also offers Abdulrahman the chance to see whether he’s got what it takes to play football in England, in English conditions and whether he can cut it at the current standards demanded at Arsenal.

“Have we had an offer from Arsenal for him to come to train? Then yes. We've also had offers from Spanish teams, and other teams also, but the player will decide ultimately. We got a lot of offers for Omar. If he finds the right environment, then we will be very supportive,” said Rashid bin Mubarak Al Hajri, deputy chairman of Al-Ain.

Half the battle for the Gunners is going to get Abdulrahman to physically turn up for the trial because the same reports also suggest that Al-Ain are trying to block any trial because they clearly know how good a player he is and the dangers involved, letting him train with another club.

If some sort of agreement has already been struck then it would be unethical on the part of Al-Ain to block that, preventing the player from going on trial.

However, the logic behind that is confusing because they still hold all the power with regards to his future. Even if a trial at Arsenal goes well this week, they can demand the sort of fee they think he’s worth and they are within their rights to set a high price for Abdulrahman.

It’s also a decision by his current club which could backfire because it could ironically make him more determined to leave. There is no point in any club having an unhappy player on their hands.

A trial is definitely in the pipeline. Whether it happens this week, next or the week after is a little unclear.

What do you think? Are Arsenal now in pole position to sign Abdulrahman?

image: © markusunger

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