Abdelkader Jilani, the agent of Toulouse FC central defender Aymen Abdennour, has claimed that Arsenal are the club most serious about their interest in the 22-year-old Tunisian Ligue 1 star.
“Big clubs are interested in him, Arsenal has been scouting him since January and they are the only club so far to make an official offer,” said Jilani. “According to the directors of Toulouse, Arsenal offered 15 million Euros for his signature over the winter transfer window, but we did not consider the offer at the time,” said Jilani.
Jilani added that Abdennour could not think of a move while he was training and playing in the African Cup of Nations (CAN). “Aymen was focused on the CAN over the winter break and he could not spend time on a transfer,” said Kilani.
The Tunisian National Team advanced out of the group stage after wins over Morocco and Niger in the CAN but were knocked out in extra time by Ghana in their quarter-final match.
Toulouse signed a contract with the left-back until 2016 after he transferred from Tunisian Sousse based club Etoile Du Sahel for a relatively small fee in January 2011.
According to Jilani, Toulouse reviewed his salary and gave him a pay increase after he was named the best central left-back in the Ligue 1. His club Toulouse currently sit in fourth place and have the lowest number of total goals allowed in the French top-flight.
Abdennour’s best performance of the season came three weeks ago in a match against Olympique Marseille when he scored the match winning goal. He also played a major role in assisting his goalkeeper Ali Ahamada earn a clean sheet. “Aymen was very proud, after the match against Marseille… he scored the match-winner and marked Andre Ayew (of Ghana) out of the match,” Kilani said with pride.
When the season comes to a close Abdennour will decide if he will make a transfer. ”There will be time over the summer for Aymen to consider his future, if he transfers it will be in June or July (during the summer transfer window),” said Kilani
Kilani claims that many clubs have expressed interest in Abdennour and have been scouting him at Toulouse matches. “The two Milan clubs, Arsenal, Man City, Valencia, Real Madrid and Barcelona are interested in signing Aymen, no matter who he signs with he will be the pride of Tunisians for years to come,” said Kilani.
When asked if all the Arsenal transfer speculation was just a way to inflate the transfer price of Abdennour, because Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has been under fire at Arsenal for a recent string of losses, Kilani claimed that Wenger was not under pressure. ”It is not true that Arsene Wenger is in an unstable position, Arsene needs a left-central defender and that’s why he wants to sign Aymen,” said Kilani.
Kilani downplayed the problems at Arsenal. “While there are problems sometimes at Arsenal, they are in fourth place in the Premier League,” he said.
Despite all the talk of a bright future for Abdennour, his agent said he is still keeping a cool head.
“Aymen is focused on playing football, he is not letting transfer talk get in the way of his performances.”
Houda Mzioudet contributed to this report.