Arsenal take Oman defender on trial
Oman international left-back Saad Al-Mukhaini has joined Arsenal for a two-day trial.
Al-Mukhaini, 24, plays for Fanja SC in Oman and could be recruited to provide competition for summer signing Andre Santos, with the talented Kieran Gibbs proving to be increasingly injury prone.
The defender came to the attention of Arsene Wenger following a recommendation from a fellow Frenchman - Oman manager Paul Le Guen.
"Most of my friends and team-mates in the club and national team came to know about it only when it was reported in the media," Al-Mukhaini told Sport360.
"Some of them dismissed it as a rumour. I do not want to lie, but I know I have got a huge opportunity here and I have to trust myself.
"Coach Le Guen has faith in me and he got me this chance, so I have to give my best. It is difficult but not impossible."
Le Guen, who managed Lyon with great distinction before an unsuccessful spell at Rangers from 2006-2007, is a personal friend of Wenger and believes Al-Mukhaini can succeed in the Premier League.
"I think Saad is one of the best players in the country and he can play in a big league," he told The Muscat Daily. "I had a chat with Wenger some time back and he seemed interested in calling him.
"I cannot say how much Saad is ready mentally for making it in a big league, but I know football enough and I believe he can. He has to adapt and compete with great players."
Following the departure of Gael Clichy to Manchester City in 2011, Arsenal have looked vulnerable at left-back with question marks haning over the defensive abilities of the attack-minded Santos. Wenger said on Friday that he was "closer" to solving his full-back issue.
"I am closer to a fullback, but only a tiny bit," he said.. "At the moment we are exploring potential situations we can take advantage of but there is nothing concrete."