Toulouse is full of talent. The likes of Etienne Capoue, Moussa Sissoko (Now Newcastle) and Ben Yedder tend to receive much media focus on many issues. Another man is creeping into the frame, however. 23 year old Tunisian Aymen Abdennour appears to be destined for greatness. He continues to be linked with top clubs around the world and a move to Spanish giants Barcelona appears to be more realistic than one might think.
More than any other club, the 23 year old has been linked heavily with the Spanish league leaders and his recent comments show that a move is possibly on the cards. Abdennour has openly stated his desire to move to a bigger club and in particular Barcelona:
“I know that Barcelona are following me and four other defenders, at least. If there is to be an offer from them at the end of the season then I will not say no, but Toulouse’s president will decide.”
The player has been watched by Barcelona on multiple occasions, due to their links with the club. They invited the Tunisian international to come to their second leg tie against Milan, which they won 4-0, but Toulouse did not give the player permission to go.
“I almost went but the coach and the president asked me to stay so I could be at training the following day.”
Abdennour’s agent also recently claimed that the player will be likely leave, whether it is to Barcelona or not, saying: “Abdennour will definitely join a top European side whether it’s Barcelona or not.”
There have been links with other clubs, particularly in England. Newcastle, Chelsea and Arsenal are all said to be interested, although unlike Barcelona, no formal contact of any kind has been made.
So what is all the fuss about? Can the player really make it at the highest level?
Abdennour has been a regular feature in the Toulouse side so far this season. He used to play in left midfield or at left back, but this year, he has played consistently in a central defensive position. The Tunisian has been noted for his passing and heading ability, as well as his ability to be composed on the ball and his concentration throughout, which all the best players need. The 23 year old does occasionally wade into challenges and if he went to Spain, where referees are probably less lenient, he would need to stamp this out of his game. The player is only 23 and has room to grow, but playing at the highest level would be a big step up and only time will tell if he could manage this.
For a 23 year old, however, Abdennour has more experience than most. He started his career at Etoile Sportive du Sahel in 2008. Many European clubs send their scouts over to Africa to try to pick up the next big thing and soon enough, Werder Bremen of the Bundesliga agreed to take Abdennour on a sort of trial period, on loan, in 2010. He played here for half a season, but only got six league games under his belt. Bremen decided against signing him permanently, but this move has provided him with vital experience for the future at such a young age. He continued to impress at his club though and soon in July 2011 Toulouse snapped him up for an undisclosed fee. He has impressed despite there being strong competition at the club, he now has a contract till 2016 and is both a regular for club and country.
So it looks like Abdennour will be yet another player leaving Ligue 1 in the summer, possibly to Spain or England. Watch this space.