By Rob Cornell
Neal Ardley has clinched his first-choice midfield target for this Summer with the season-long loan signing of Jimmy Abdou from Championship side Millwall.
"I'm absolutely delighted to get Jimmy," said Neal to the official website. "He's a top midfielder for us to have and been with Millwall for nine years and come through two League One Play-off finals with them."
"He's the player in question I spoke about at 'Meet the Manager' when I told the supporters I had a main midfield target in mind that I'd hoped to get and that he would be one of the first names on the team sheet. I'm really pleased we've been able to get him for the season."
Nadjim "Jimmy" Abdou began his football career with his home-town club Martigues and moved on to Sedan in France. He initially moved to England ten years ago and played for Plymouth Argyle.
When he moved on to Millwall though he established himself as regular in their midfield and has gone on to make nearly 350 appearances. He signed a new deal with the club this week.
The 33 year-old Comoros international has become a firm favourite at The Den since his arrival in 2008. He has twice won Player of the Year awards at Millwall in seasons 2011/12 and 2014/15 and has been described as a combative and tireless performer in the middle over the years.
Abdou scored a crucial goal for the Lions in 2009 to send them to the League 1 Play-off Final at Wembley. They lost on that occasion, but returned to Wembley a year later and secured promotion.
Andy Frampton, Paul Robinson and Gary Alexander were also part of that successful Millwall squad at the time and they all eventually moved on at different stages of their careers to make vital contributions at AFC Wimbledon under Neal.
In 2016, Abdou and his Millwall team-mates missed out on promotion again in a League One Play-Off final, only for Jimmy to secure it at the second attempt for a second time in May of this year with victory over Bradford City.
He played in Millwall's victories over the Dons at The Den in the FA Cup in 2009 and the League Cup in 2013. He was an unused substitute in the two league games between the sides last season as he battled for his place in the team, eventually figuring in their recent Wembley triumph.
We hope to introduce Jimmy Abdou on the pitch to AFC Wimbledon fans later this afternoon, when the Dons face Watford at The Cherry Red Records Stadium.