Nocturnal surprise: Ibrahim Salah leaves AA Gent and signs for 4.5 years with Rennes

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Deep in the night a very surprising transfer fell from the sky. At 1:31 am, the French first division club Rennes announced the arrival of 21-year-old Moroccan international Ibrahim Salah. He had only just surfaced at AA Gent this season, but has already decorated a transfer. He moves to Ligue 1 and signs a 4.5-year contract with Rennes. He must replace Kamaldeen Sulemana who signed with Southampton.

Koen Van Uytvange, Stefan Smet

Talk about a surprise. When the entire Belgian transfer carousel seemed to have come to a standstill, another nightly tweet from France came in. Ibrahim Salah leaves for Rennes. The goldcrest of AA Gent had signed his first professional contract with the Buffalos just over a year ago and only came into action for the first time this season. In August he made his debut – one week after Tarik Tissoudali sustained a serious injury – as a substitute against Westerlo.

Since then he regularly showed that he has something special. In October, for example, he comes in at halftime against Seraing and is decisive for the first time with an assist and entertains the audience with frills. The Ghelamco Arena loves him and he even signs a new Salah in December at half-time against Seraing, is decisive for the first time with an assist, and entertains the crowd with frills. He is called up for the first time for the Moroccan U23 and extends his expiring contract in December until 2026.

Orban as replacement

When AA Gent announced the official arrival of a striker just before midnight, it turned out that he was a replacement for a sudden departure. In the late hours of Tuesday, the Buffalos were still trying to capture Nigerian striker Gift Emmanuel Orban. Finally, just before the deadline, it came with white smoke. The 20-year-old attacker of 1.78 meters suddenly broke through in recent months at the Norwegian Stabaek with 19 goals and 7 assists in 24 games. With that he became top scorer in the second division and helped the ex-club of Hanche-Olsen to promotion. Because Stabaek needed money, he could already be sold. From Norway it was heard that, depending on the modalities, it cost about 3.3 million euros. A hefty sum.

“Theate is going to catch me”

AA Gent is nevertheless short on cash, but Salah’s departure made his arrival possible. His transfer was not announced until an hour and a half after midnight by Rennes, which had been following the young player for several months. “It is a dream come true,” says the Brussels resident in French media. “I have been following Rennes for a long time, thanks to the Moroccan Nayef Aguerd or also Dembélé, Hatem Ben Arfa and Raphinha, players I admire. I can’t wait to show what I’m capable of on the field. Before I signed I inquired at Arthur Theater. He’s a top guy, he said I could count on him. I don’t worry about my adjustment, I get along well with everyone.”

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