Gombau struggling to keep Malik and Mabil

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Adelaide United boss Josep Gombau has admitted he is concerned that key defender Osama Malik may leave the club at the end of the season.

Malik, who has been a key part of the Reds’ success in the A-League this season, has yet to put ink to paper having been the subject of interest from European clubs.

Clubs in Switzerland and Belgium have expressed their admiration of Malik, particularly his ability to transform into a controlling midfielder and his habit of delivering defence-splitting passes.

Speaking after his sides’ 3-1 loss to Melbourne City at AAMI Park last Friday, Gombau conceded that Malik is yet to confirm his future is at Coopers Stadium, saying that he hopes the big defender will stay to keep his successful squad intact.

“We will have 90 per cent of the team, everybody signing two year deals, which is the project we are doing,” Gombau said.

“We have Osama Malik, who will say something to us next week.

“I hope we can keep this 90 per cent, but it in the end it’s important to keep as much (sic) players as possible and we are happy with them and they are happy with us,” he said.

The speculation about Malik’s future comes just a week after fellow centre-back Nigel Boogaard revealed he will leave Adelaide at the end of the season, having committed to league rivals Newcastle Jets.

If Malik goes it leaves Gombau with the unenviable task to finding two controlling defenders who can maintain his sides’ trademark diagonal passing for the 2015/16 season. The chances of him finding two that have experience playing together are very slim.

Joining Malik in the bargaining dance is young star Awer Mabil. The attacking winger has delighted the fans at Coopers Stadium this year with his pace and trickery on the ball, and during the Asian Cup break travelled to Holland to trial with Ajax.

The famed Dutch club has yet to make an offer for Mabil but it’s widely accepted that he won’t be with the Reds next year.

Despite the speculation about the future of Malik and Mabil, Gombau has managed to lock-in the future of some of his most important players, with Marcelo Carrusca, Isaias, Sergio Cirio and Michael Marrone all committing to the club for a further two years.

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