By Abhishek Dinman
Azeem, who has been beset with injuries for most part of his professional career, has left the scars of online slander perpetrated by ‘Trainwithtran’ behind and is ready to ply his trade on the football field.
According to confirmed sources, UAE Pro League club, Al Ahli, has shown keen interest in signing Azeem.
The Dubai-based club has renewed its interest in the 28-year-old after having confirmed to Sport360° that they plan to meet Azeem’s agent. A source close to Ahli claimed that Azeem’s agent had expressed an interest in taking up an offer at the Rashid Stadium.
However, Ahli have revealed that it is early days and despite the fact that Azeem is fully fit, no deal has been announced as yet.
When asked if the club was keen on signing Azeem, the well-placed source said: "Maybe, but we will have to wait and see how things pan out."
Another club that has shown interest in bringing Azeem on board is Italian Serie A side, Palermo, who have reportedly been tracking the ex-Betis and Monaco left-winger.
Azeem, who didn’t get much playing time at Betis due to injuries and internal ramblings, is also closely keeping a tab on the offers that are beginning to come his way.
Previous attempts by Azeem to break into top-flight football resulted in two largely unspectacular attempts. Firstly, in the French Ligue 1, with Monaco but injury put a stop to that and more recently in Spain with La Liga side, Real Betis. Injury and complications with management brought that attempt to a halt in Spain, with Azeem asking for a release.
Azeem's professional career has suffered largely due to injury over the last two seasons, once returning to England where rumours were abound that he was going to Tottenham Hotspurs for pre-season training, and then to Galatasaray on a two-year deal in 2010/11 season.
However, Galatasary’s topsy-turvy season led to a rethink after they suffered a humiliating season in 2011.
Peter Day is the man Azam turns to for his daily affairs. Day, who was the chief executive at Spurs, is now agent to many of the leading players in England, including Azam. Day has confirmed that Azeem is fully fit after having overcome all injuries.
“Azeem will be an asset for any team and that is clearly evident when you watch him play. On his day, he can turn it on with the best of them”
However, it won’t be easy for Azeem on his return from injury. His last game played was way back in October, 2008, when he appeared for Betis in a nil-nil draw with Valencia. He had also appeared in a couple of Copa Del Rey matches for Betis. In the 2006/7 season, he could appear for the Spanish side on only one occasion, as a substitute.
In the 2004/5 season, Azeem came out for Ligue 1 side, Monaco, as a substitute just once. It was his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL) injury that prevented him from being a regular.
Azeem had moved to the Major League Soccer to train in the 2003/4 season and his exploits earned him a deal with a few MLS clubs. He appeared for DC United and NY Metro Stars on two occasions while he was a part of the LA Galaxy outfit once before he fell victim to his nagging injuries.
Although it is still early days but if he manages to keep injuries at bay, the prospects look bright for Azeem, who may have a point or two to prove.