Arsenal will fight Barcelona for the signature of United Arab Emirates (UAE) youngster Omar Abdulrahman, according to the Daily Mail. The 21-year-old forward is presently with Al Ain FC in the UAE and rose to prominence during the summer's Olympics.
Abdulrahman has been compared with compared with Manchester City's Spanish playmaker David Silva - which is interesting because ESPN reports the Premier League champions actually had him on trial in August.
It is believed Arsenal have already had scouts at some of Al Ain's matches this season. But Arsene Wenger will have to move very quickly if he doesn't want to lose Abdulrahman - the list of potential suitors includes Bundesliga champions Borussia Dortmund and Spanish club Malaga, as well as two other unidentified German outfits.
Arsene Wenger is expected to have £70m on hand this summer, to spend on new recruits and boosting contracts of existing first team stars. In any case, it is unlikely that Abdulrahman, whose present contract expires in 2015, will cost a great deal of money. And that will be good news for Gunners fans because they will probably not have too much faith in Wenger's promises to spend the available transfer funds.
Meanwhile, Abdulrahman has been quoted as saying he turned down a move to Portuguese club Benfica in January, on a season's loan. The playmaker said: "Yes, I got an offer of a one-year contract [with Benfica], but the priority remains to play for Al Ain. I'm still young, I still have a lot to achieve in the future, and later I'll see if I receive any more offers. But now I'm thinking only about making the Al Ain fans, the people of Al Ain and the nation proud."
North London Derby
Meanwhile, Wenger has refused to single out Welsh international Gareth Bale as the sole source of danger to his side, in the weekend's derby. The 23-year-old Real Madrid target is in phenomenal goal-scoring form and although the long-serving Arsenal boss acknowledges he will be an important player in the game he also insisted Spurs had several top-class players.