Buriram United release Vietnam midfielder Luong Xuan Truong; sign former Arsenal and AS Monaco star

Buriram United Vietnam

Vietnam international Luong Xuan Truong’s time with Buriram United have ended prematurely after the Thai League champions decided to release the midfielder.

Xuan Truong had signed for Buriram from V.League’s Hoang Anh Gia Lai (HAGL) FC on a one-year loan deal in February 2019, but leaves the Thunder Castles just four months into that deal.

It is being reported that the Vietnamese players has not been registered by the club for the second half of the Thai domestic season, meaning that he will return to his parent club HAGL to play in the Vietnamese top division.

During his time in Thailand, the 25-year-old scored one and assisted another in the nine games he played for Buriram.

Buriram, who recently signed Philippines international Kevin Ingreso, have also announced the signing of former Arsenal and AS Monaco forward Nacer Barazite.

The 29-year-old Dutch attacker will join the club from UAE Pro League outfit Al Jazira Club.

Barazite came through the ranks at the Premier League club and made his first-team debut for the Gunners in a League Cup match against Sheffield United in October 2007. He went on loans to Derby County and Vitesse Arnhem while with Arsenal before making a permanent move to Austria Wien in 2010.

He signed for Monaco in 2012 before returning on loan to Wien. He then moved to Turkey with Yeni Malatyaspor in 2017 before moving to the United Arab Emirates in September 2018.

He has also represented Netherlands at the U-17, U-19, U-20 and U-21 levels.

AFC Cup 2019: Altyn Asyr through to Inter-Zone Play-Off Semifinals after holding FC Istiklol to 1-1 draw

altyn asyr

Turkmenistan’s Altyn Asyr have made the Inter-Zone Play-Off Semifinals of the AFC Cup 2019 from Central Asia Zone after they held Tajikistan’s FC Istiklol to a 1-1 draw on the final matchday in Group D.

Altyn Asyr only had to avoid a defeat against their Tajik opponents on Wednesday and the visitors went ahead in the 49th minute when Altymyrat Annadurdyyew scored at the Central Republican Stadium in Dushanbe.

Hosts Istiklol restored the parity eight minutes later through Fatkhullo Fatkhuloev, however they failed to find a winning goal that would have put them through to the Inter-Zone Play-Off Semifinals of the competition.

Altyn Asyr finished with 10 points from six group matches while Istiklol took the second spot with eight points.

The Turkmenistan champions will be joined in the inter-zone play-off semifinals by DPR Korea’s April 25 SC (East Asia Zone), Bangladesh’s Abahani Dhaka (South Asia Zone) and the winners of the ASEAN Zonal Semifinal between Becamex Binh Duong and Hanoi FC.

Meanwhile, Kyrgyz Republic’s Dordoi Bishkek defeated Tajik League side FK Khujand 3-0 in an inconsequential match of Group D. Wahyat Orazsahedow, Mirlan Murzaev and Artur Valikayev scored for the Kyrgyz outfit who finished the match with 10 players after Kairat Zhyrgalbek Uulu was sent off in the 73rd minute.

(Photo courtesy: The AFC)

AFC Cup 2019: April 25 SC join Abahani Dhaka in Inter-Zone Play-off Semifinals despite 1-0 defeat to Kitchee SC

April 25 AFC Cup

Group I of the AFC Cup 2019 came to a conclusion on Wednesday with Kitchee SC defeating April 25 SC 1-0 and Hang Yuen holding Wofoo Tai Po FC to a 1-1 draw.

However, the defeat to the Hong Kong Premier League outfit at the Mong Kok Stadium did not deter DPR Korea’s April 25 from becoming one of the four teams in the Inter-Zone Play-Off Semifinals of this season’s AFC Cup.

Brazilian forward Fernando scored the only goal of the game in the 39th minute to give Kitchee a second-placed finish in the group with 10 points. The North Korea outfit, meanwhile, finished top of the group with 15 points winning all but one of their six group stage matches in the competition.

April 25 join Abahani Dhaka who progressed from Group E at the expense of Indian Super League side Chennaiyin FC while they will also be joined by the winners of Group D (either of Altyn Asyr or Istiklol) as well as the winners of the ASEAN Zonal Semifinal between Becamex Binh Duong and Hanoi FC — both from Vietnam.

Meanwhile, Hang Yuen and Tai Po played out a 1-1 draw in a dead rubber game at the Taipei Stadium. Chan Siu Kwan had given visitors Tai Po the lead in the 24th minute, but Joo Ikseong equalised for Hang Yuen in the 65th minute to collect their first point in the AFC Cup this season.

Tai Po finished their AFC Cup 2019 campaign with eight points.

JDT crowned Malaysia Super League champions for the sixth consecutive time after beating Melaka United 2-1

JDT Johor

Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) have won their sixth consecutive Malaysia Super League title after defeating Melaka United 2-1 at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Wednesday.

JDT have won their sixth domestic league title with four rounds of matches to spare as they took an unassailable 16-point lead over second-placed Pahang FA who lost 5-2 to Selangor FA at the Shah Alam Stadium the other day.

The Southern Tigers first won the Liga Super title in 2014 when they finished ahead of Selangor FA and have since then dominated the domestic scene in Malaysia winning titles in 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and now in 2019.

The win also made them the most successful side in the Malaysian football history, along with Selangor FA, when it comes to the number of league titles won. Both Selangor and JDT have six league titles since the league trophy was introduced in 1982.

Selangor won their titles in 1984, 1989, 1990, 2000, 2009 and 2010.

JDT have also booked a spot in the group stages of next season’s AFC Champions League — their second appearance in the continental showpiece after making their debut this season.

JDT’s title win was confirmed with their 2-1 win over Melaka with Nazmi Faiz and Diogo scoring the goal for the Malaysian champions.

Nazmi opened the scoring as early as the seventh minute after an initial attempt from Diogo was saved by Melaka goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi. Diogo then made it 2-0 in the 27th minute with some individual brilliance as he evaded the attention of multiple defenders inside the box before slotting it into the back of the goal.

Melaka had chances towards the end of the game with Davy Agna failing to direct a close-range header at the goal in the 40th minute before Luka Milunovic slashed over from a cross by Agna in the 45th minute.

The second half saw JDT looking for more goals, but Melaka goalkeeper Khairul Fahmi did well to keep the score at 2-0 denying Safawi Rasid and Nazmi after the restart.

And Melaka were given a lifeline when the referee awarded a penalty in the 83rd minute after Diogo handles a Safiq Rahim free kick on the wall. Agna’s effort from the spot was kept out by JDT custodian Farizal, but Shukor Adna found the back of the net with the follow up effort.

However, JDT held on to the one-goal advantage to lift their sixth successive title.

LIVE: Malaysia Super League – Melaka United vs Johor Darul Ta’zim

LIVE: Malaysia Super League - Melaka United vs Johor Darul Ta'zim

The Malaysia Super League will see a clash between Melaka United and league leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim (JDT) at the Hang Jebat Stadium on Wednesday.

Johor are sitting pretty at the top of the Malaysia Super League standings having opened up a 13 point lead over the second-placed Pahang FA while Melaka United are sixth in the 12-team Malaysian top division.

Defending champions JDT have collected 43 points from 17 matches this season including 13 wins while Melaka have 26 points having won seven and drawn five of their 17 league matches.

Johor’s latest win in the Liga Super came last week against Selangor who they defeated 3-2 thanks to goals from Gonzalo Cabrera, Leandro Velazquez and Safawi Rasid though a 10-man Selangor gave them a tough fight towards the end reducing the deficit to just one goal.

Meanwhile, Melaka registered a narrow 1-0 win over Kuala Lumpur FA at the KLFA Stadium with the only goal of the game coming from the boots of Melaka’s Philippines international attacker Patrick Reichelt in the 43rd minute.

The Malaysia Super League clash between Melaka United and Johor Darul Ta’zim will kick off at 9 PM HKT. You can follow all the LIVE updates from game on our Matchday Blog right here!

LIVE: Malaysia Premier League – Penang FA vs Negeri Sembilan FA

Malaysia Premier League

Penang FA will take on Negeri Sembilan FA in an exciting Malaysia Premier League fixture at the City Stadium in Penang on Wednesday.

Penang are currently seventh in the table while Negeri Sembilan, their opponents for the day, are positioned fifth in the Malaysia Premier League standings behind leaders Johor Darul Ta’zim II, Sabah FA, UiTM FC and Terengganu FC II.

Hosts Penang have played 16 matches in the Malaysia second division this season and have won five and drawn five of those games. They have 20 points to their name and are ahead of bottom-placed Sarawak FA, Kelantan FA, UKM FC and Selangor United FC in the 11-team league.

Meanwhile, Negeri Sembilan have won six and drawn four games to accumulate 22 points in the league, but have played one match less than Penang. A win could see them reduce the gap with the leaders JDT II who have 33 points from 17 matches.

Penang come into the game after a 3-3 draw with UiTM FC a week ago while Negeri Sembilan had defeated Selangor United 3-0 in their last fixture held on June 18.

Penang FA vs Negeri Sembilan FA in the Malaysia Premier League will kick off at 8:45 PM HKT. You can watch the match LIVE right here.

AFF throw their weight behind proposed ASEAN bid for 2034 FIFA World Cup

AFF FIFA world Cup

The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) have come out in support of Southeast Asia’s initiative to launch a joint bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup.

The idea to bring the football’s biggest tournament to the ASEAN was proposed during the ASEAN Summit 2019 held in Bangkok this week with the Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha announcing the support of the region’s leaders for a World Cup bid.

Now the AFF, the body that controls the sport in the region, have come out in support of the proposal.

“The ASEAN Football Federation (AFF) welcome the announcement that our political leaders in this region have pledged their support for Asean to launch a joint bid to host the 2034 FIFA World Cup,” said AFF president Khiev Sameth.

“It has always been our stand that ASEAN, which is collectively the third largest economy in Asia and the seventh largest in the world, has the potential to host a successful FIFA World Cup,” said Sameth from Cambodia who was elected the president earlier this year.

“A FIFA World Cup hosted by ASEAN will generate economic and sporting benefits for this region, and will also strengthen bonding among the 640 million people,” he added.

“AFF will engage our stakeholders and look into the possibility of making a bid for the hosting rights while taking into account the key factors including pre-determined minimum requirements for hosting the competition, timelines and other considerations,” Sameth said in the statement.

Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam are the 10 countries which make up the ASEAN region while Australia and Timor-Leste are among the members of the ASEAN Football Federation.

LIVE: Lao Premier League – Lao Toyota FC vs Lao Army FC

Lao Premier League

Reigning champions Lao Toyota FC will take on Lao Army FC in an exciting Pepsi Lao Premier League clash at the New Laos National Stadium in Vientiane on Wednesday.

Lao Toyota will be looking to bounce back from their first defeat of the season when they face the Army, while the Army themselves will be desperate to get some points on the board.

Lao Toyota are currently third in the six-team league having collected 12 points from five matches. Their only dropped points came in their last match against Young Elephants where they lost 2-1 — their only domestic defeat so far this season.

However, they are still only three points by league leaders Young Elephants who have played two matches more than Lao Toyota and only one point behind second-placed Master 7 FC who have played one extra game.

Meanwhile, Lao Army are bottom of the Lao Premier League standings having collected only four points from seven matches so far. But they will be buoyed by their first win of the season in their last match against Evo United on June 23.

Lao Toyota FC vs Lao Army FC in the Lao Premier League will kick off at 6 PM HKT. You can watch the match LIVE right here.

Which countries could represent ASEAN if the region wins the bid to host FIFA World Cup in 2034?

FIFA World Cup ASEAN

It has been a given that hosting a FIFA World Cup means an automatic qualification to the world’s biggest sporting event for the host nation. However, things aren’t going to be that straightforward in the future versions of the World Cup! 

What with the United State (US), Canada and Mexico co-hosting the tournament in 2026 and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) — all 10 of them — weighing up a bid to host the World Cup in 2034!

Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Brunei Darussalam are the 10 countries which make up the ASEAN — a region well known for its passionate football fans who flock the stadiums in thousands for a game of football (Timor-Leste and Australia are also part of the ASEAN Football Federation, but they are not members of the intergovernmental organisation which has mooted the idea to bid).

The World Cup might be heading to Southeast Asia after the leaders from the region have proposed a joint bid by ASEAN

But with Asia only having FOUR qualification slots (plus 0.5 via an inter-confederation play-off) until the 2022 World Cup and EIGHT starting 2026 World Cup when the tournament will be expanded to 48 teams, chances are unlikely that all 10 nations from ASEAN will qualify automatically if there is a successful bid.

As the 2002 World Cup was the first to be hosted by more than one nation (Japan and Korea Republic) and the 2026 edition is all set to become the first to have more than two hosts, it is safe to say we will be entering uncharted territories when it comes to the topic of automatic qualification spots.

But, even then, which of the 10 nations from Southeast Asia have realistic chances of qualifying for the 2034 World Cup in ASEAN and how can they do it? Let’s take a look!

Direct entry via World Cup Qualifiers

No ASEAN nation has qualified for the World Cup via qualifiers so far — the exception being Indonesia who before their independence (known as the Dutch East Indies) automatically qualified for the 1938 World Cup in France as the only team from Asia. But that is not to say we might not have ASEAN nations fighting the best of Asia for a spot in the World Cup in a decade’s time.

This is where the expanded 48-team World Cup could come in handy for ASEAN as Asia will now get eight qualification slots for the world championship (still only amounting to 17 per cent representation of the 46 member nations in the Asian Football Confederation) and there is no reason why one or even two ASEAN nations can sneak in via the qualifiers for 2034.

 

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Vietnam and Thailand seem to the be the contenders to do this with Vietnam currently among the Top 15 sides in Asia while Thailand are 20th in the continent in the latest FIFA World Rankings. Vietnam are the regional champions winning the AFF Suzuki Cup 2018 and also reached the last-eight of the AFC Asian Cup 2019 proving their credentials to compete against the elites of Asian football.

Meanwhile, Thailand’s performances might have dipped in the recent times, but they are traditional powerhouses of the ASEAN and have the most competitive domestic league in the region. They also reached the Round of 16 of the Asian Cup earlier this year only to be knocked out by Asian giants China PR.

Automatic qualification as host nation(s)

It is still very early days when it comes to the bidding process for the 2034 World Cup and only a formal announcement from Thailand Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha is what we have got so far.

But one thing that we know is Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia and Cambodia are the nations which currently have stadiums that can meet the FIFA requirements for hosting the World Cup while Myanmar’s Thuwunna Stadium in Yangon could also be included if it is renovated in time to meet the standards set by the world body.

Vietnam are a team on the rise in Asia and could book a direct qualification for a 48-team World Cup in 2034

That makes it seven ASEAN nations who are eligible to host the 2034 World Cup while Philippines, Laos and Brunei might have to settle for other roles like acting as training bases for the participating nations as their sporting infrastructure is lacking at the moment. But it seems extremely unrealistic of FIFA to allocate even seven spots in the World Cup for hosts.

US, Mexico and Canada are holding out for three spots as they co-host the 2026 World Cup (something yet to be resolved by FIFA) and it is likely that the ASEAN also gets three to four spots as hosts of the quadrennial showpiece which will ensure that there is at least three (or four) Southeast Asian nations at the World Cup and keep the local support at fever pitch.

Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam qualified as hosts when the four ASEAN nations co-hosted the AFC Asian Cup in 2007 and the pick could go to these four nations once again to automatically qualify as hosts at the 2034 World Cup. However, if one or two of these nations (Vietnam or Thailand most likely, as mentioned earlier) qualify by virtue of their performances in the World Cup Qualifiers, they could cede their automatic spot to one of their neighbours outside of the list.

Qualification via a play-off or 2033 AFF Cup

The 46 of the 48 slots at the 2026 World Cup will be divided among the six confederations — AFC, CAF, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL, OFC and UEFA. However, two remaining places is set to be decided by a six-team play-off tournament which is to take place in the World Cup host nation before the tournament proper.

This tournament is originally set to feature one team from the five confederations (UEFA excluded) and an additional team from the host confederation. However, ASEAN can negotiate with FIFA to allocate the two slots for the host nations or in the worst case scenario, include some of the ASEAN nations in the six-team play-off tournament to improve their chances of making it to the World Cup.

Southeast Asia boats of some of the most passionate football supporters anywhere in the world

Another alternative could be to make the 2033 AFF Championship, the biennial tournament held among the Southeast Asian nations, a qualifying event for the World Cup itself with the two slots going to the teams making it to the final of the regional showpiece. The teams which have qualified via other means (as hosts or via qualifiers) could be excluded from the competition.

To summarise, with the methods mentioned above, ASEAN could optimistically have anywhere between three to five host nations playing at the World Cup in 2034. But to propound is one thing and to put things into action is something else. All these plans will require the agreement of several stakeholders of the world game and months and years on discussion tables to realise them.

But hey, we have a World Cup bid to win first!

Al Jazeera come back from three goals down against Al Jaish to book a spot in AFC Cup 2019 West Asia Zonal Final

al jazeera afc cup

Jordan’s Al Jazeera Club scripted a stunning comeback against Al Jaish SC in the AFC Cup 2019 West Asia Zonal Semifinal second leg as they overturned a three-goal deficit from the first leg to book a place in the final.  

Al Jazeera had needed a miracle after losing the first leg held at Bahrain 3-0 and a miracle they did produce as they defeated their Syrian opponents 4-0 at the Amman International Stadium on Tuesday.

Al Jazeera will now face Lebanese Premier League side Al Ahed FC who had defeated Jordan’s Al Wehdat FC 1-0 on aggregate in the other West Asia Zonal Semifinal on Monday.

Facing an uphill task, hosts Al Jazeera wasted no time to get into the business as Abdullah Al Atta opened their scoring as early as the fifth minute, but Al Jaish would still have fancied their chances still enjoying a two-goal cushion over the Jordanians.

The visitors managed to contain the desperate hosts in the first half as the score remained 1-0 at the break, but Al Jazeera once again came out of the blocks flying at the start of the second half winning a penalty two minutes in.

Noor Al Rawabdeh’s cross from the right was handled by Al Jaish defender Youssef Al Hamwi inside the box and the referee had no hesitation to point to the spot. Jordan international Feras Shelbaieh, who had provided the assist for the first goal, made no mistake from the penalty spot as he made it 2-0 to the hosts.

The third goal — the one that levelled things up on aggregate — was scored in the 65th minute by Ahmad Al Essawi who headed in a cross from Fadi Al Natour to make it 3-0 on the day and 3-3 on aggregate.

With either sides failing to find a winning goal and the clock ticking into the injury time, extra time was on the horizon. But Al Jazeera had other plans as they found the winner to complete a thrilling comeback in the third minute of the second half injury time.

Al Essawi turned provider this time as his corner kick was turned in by defender Zaid Jaber at the near post to send the crowd to delirium.

The game descended into chaos as tempers flared following the goal with Al Jazeera’s Al Atta and Al Jaish’s Mohammed Al Wakid both seeing red cards.

Al Jazeera will now face Al Ahed in the West Asia Zonal Final of the AFC Cup 2019 — the first leg of which is to be held on September 24.

AFC Cup 2019: Hanoi FC strongest team we have faced – Ceres-Negros boss Vidakovic ahead of semifinal second leg

Ceres Negros

Ceres-Negros FC head coach Risto Vidakovic has admitted that his players will have their work cut out when they face Hanoi FC in the ASEAN Zonal Semifinal second leg of the AFC Cup 2019 on Tuesday.

The Philippines Football League side travel to the Hang Day Stadium in Vietnam to face the V.League reigning champions Hanoi after playing out a 1-1 draw in the first leg held at the Panaad Stadium in Bacolod.

AFC Cup 2019: Ceres Negros 1-0 Hà Nội FC – Bienve Maranon (57′)

Bienvenido Maranon had given Ceres the lead in the first leg tie at 57 minutes, but Pape Omar Faye scored the equaliser for Hanoi 10 minutes later to give the Purple-Yellows the away goal advantage.

But, Vidakovic believes that the second leg will be a whole new challenge. “It will be a new game [on Tuesday] and I think everything is open like before,” said the 50-year-old Serbian.

He also said that facing the Vietnamese champions will be one of the biggest challenges his players have faced this season. “For me Hanoi is the strongest team that we played this year. But I think we are also a strong team and we will see a good fight,” he said.

Meanwhile, veteran defender Alvaro Silva said that the semifinal could go either way as he prepares to face his former side for the second time in as many weeks.

AFC Cup 2019: Ceres Negros 1-1 Hanoi FC (Pape Omar Faye 67′)

“It will be a difficult game. Like coach said it’s open. I think 50-50 and I think any of the teams can go through the final,” said the 35-year-old Philippines international centre-back.

The ASEAN Zonal Semifinal second leg between Hanoi and Ceres-Negros will kick off at 8 PM HKT. A goalless draw will do for hosts Hanoi to progress to the zonal final, while a 1-1 draw will take the game into extra time. Ceres must win by a margin of at least one goal to book a place in the final.

AFC Cup 2019: Al Ahed through to West Asia Zonal Final after holding Al Wehdat to goalless draw

Al Ahed AFC Cup

Al Ahed FC progressed to the West Asia Zonal Final of the AFC Cup 2019 after holding Al Wehdat SC to a goalless draw at the Camille Chamoun Sports City Stadium in Beirut on Monday.

The Lebanese Football League outfit had defeated their Jordanian opponents 1-0 in the first leg held at Amman last week and thereby booked a spot in the final thanks to a 1-0 aggregate win.

They will now face the winners of the other West Asia Zonal Semifinal tie between Jordan’s Al Jazeera Club and Syrian Premier League side Al Jaish SC taking place on Tuesday. Al Jaish are leading the tie after recording a 3-0 win the semifinal first leg.


Chances were far and few between in the second leg fixture at Beirut, and it was Al Ahed who almost strengthened their position in the tie when Ahmad Zerik hit the woodwork with a long-range effort in the 22nd minute.

Al Wehdat had a gilt-edged opportunity to draw level on aggregate when Saeed Al Murjan had an empty net to score into in the 31st minute, but Khalil Khamis was there to clear the effort off the goalline and maintain his side’s advantage.

Al Wehdat continued to find an opening past the Al Ahed defence in the second half, but the Lebanese side’s defender held strong to deny the Jordanians.

In the end, it was Mohamad Kdouh’s towering header from the first leg that made all the difference as the Lebanese champions sailed into the West Asia Zonal Final of the AFC Cup.

AFC Cup 2019: PSM Makassar hoping to bounce back against Binh Duong despite defeat in first leg of ASEAN Zonal Semifinal

PSM Makassar

PSM Makassar head coach Darije Kalezic is confident that his side can progress to the ASEAN Zonal Final of the AFC Cup 2019 despite a 1-0 defeat to Becamex Binh Duong in the semifinal first leg. 

Vietnamese side Binh Duong were down to 10 men in the first leg held at the Go Dau Stadium in Vietnam, but scored the only goal of the game through Nguyen Tien Linh in the 80th minute to stun the Indonesian visitors.

AFC Cup 2019: Becamex Bình Dương 1-0 PSM Makassar – Nguyễn Tiến Linh (80’)

However, PSM boss Kalezic is fancying his side’s chances of reaching the final of the AFC Cup ASEAN Zone. “I am sure PSM can make it through to final by winning the second leg at our home,” said the Swiss tactician.

“Team atmosphere is perfect. The players are motivated to get the best result in the AFC Cup,” he said ahead of the semifinal second leg to be held at the Pakansari Stadium on Wednesday, June 26.

“In the first leg at Vietnam, both us and Becamex defended really well. But unfortunately, they got one chance which led to their goal. That goal made our plan not work as we had hoped for it to,” said the former Wellington Phoenix manager.

Ceres-Negros FC will travel to Vietnam to face Hanoi in the other ASEAN Zonal Semifinal to be held on Tuesday. Both teams had played out a 1-1 draw in the first leg at Philippines.

Al Wahda insist UAE winger Al Ghassani is not for sale despite reported interest from Premier League

Al Ghassani

UAE Pro League outfit Al Wahda FC have said that their promising attacker Yahya Al Ghassani will not move to Europe despite him being linked with moves to the Premier League and Bundesliga. 

21-year-old Al Ghassani has reportedly attracted the eyes of Burnley FC from the English top flight as well as from two unnamed clubs from the German Bundesliga.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) left winger had recently said in an interview that he would “love to play in Europe.” “The talks are between the clubs and I have no idea what’s going on, but if I get a break, I definitely would love to play in Europe. I’m 100 per cent ready,” he had told The National.

Now, Al Ghassani’s club have made it clear in a news conference that they will not let go of their prized possession during this transfer window.

“Sometimes football agents make inappropriate statements to the media. In general I would like to say Yahya or any other youngsters in the club should complete three to four years playing in the top flight before even thinking of playing in Europe,” said Al Wahda director Ahmed Al Rumaithi.

“Yahya has played just one season and that’s not ideal” he said as the club unveiled their new head coach Maurice Steijn (via The National).

Al Wahda are to face Al Nassr FC in the Round of 16 of the AFC Champions League 2019 with the first leg scheduled to be played on August 6.

Al Ghassani, born in Dubai, was a trialist at Manchester United when he was 14 and could become the first UAE footballer to earn a permanent move to one of Europe’s top-five leagues, if the move materialises.

(Photo courtesy: The National)