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Friday, 14 December 2018

Top January 2017 transfer targets in the Egyptian Premier League

Karim Farouk , Monday 1 Jan 2018
Mohamed Awad, Omar El-Said and Hussien El-Shahat
Mohamed Awad, Omar El-Said and Hussien El-Shahat
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As the January transfer window has started on the first day of the year and until the 31st of January, Egyptian Premier League big guns are ready to splash their cash to strengthen their squad midway through the season. While some players are labeled "not for sale," at least this winter, Ahram Online presents some names that may be on the market.

Hussein El-Shahat

The Maqassa winger has been the greatest revelation of the season so far. The 25-year old player got off to a flying start of the season scoring 9 goals just two adrift of his teammate and the league's top scorer John Antwi. El-Shahat – who is enjoying his fourth season at Maqassa – has been in a dazzling form after been deployed at the right wing switching from his natural right-back role. Cairo giants and arch-rivals Ahly and Zamalek have him already on their list and reportedly started talks to land him.

"Zamalek have made an inquiry and we have already turned down a bid from Ahly because it was below of our expectations. I don't know what will come next but so far he is our player and we hope to keep him especially that the African Champions League will start soon," Maqassa president Mohamed Abdel-Salam revealed.

Omar El-Said

At 27, Omar El-Said is inching his way to become one of the finest Egyptian strikers. The Entag El-Harbi player is an imposing striker with 190cm and 80kg that overpowers defenders and wins all areal battles.

A classic number 9 who scored 10 goals out of 18 scored by his team in this first half of the season, El-Said seems a top target for league leaders Ismaily, who are hoping to find a back-up option for their star striker Diego Calderon. Wealthy clubs Smouha and Enppi are reportedly ready to join the chase to bolster their frontlines.

Salah Mohsen

The 19-year old striker is one of the rising stars in Egyptian football. An energetic forward who can play either on the flanks or in a central role, Mohsen uses his mobility and pace to break through defenses to score goals or create chances.

He is Enppi's top scorer with 7 league goals so far, provided two assists and is credited to his team's recent progress following a poor start of the season. Mohsen is reportedly on Ahly, Zamalek and Ismaily radars but the club's president Alaa Khashab said he will only sell him if he gets an offer from overseas.

Mohamed Awwad

The international goalkeeper has produced a string of magnificent displays that helped Ismaily maintain the top spot in the league table midway through the season. Awwad, 25, is seen as the best Egyptian keeper at the moment due to his consistency in contrast to his Pharaohs rivals Ahmed El-Shennawi (Zamalek) and Sherif Ekrami (Ahly).

Ahly have made their admiration for the talented goalie no secret and are pushing forward to sign him, whether it would be this January or next summer, despite a statement from Ismaily board that he is not for sale. The Red Devils have a top priority of signing a keeper as Ekrami and Mohamed El-Shennawi are falling below expectations.

Ahmed Sami

The Maqassa defender and captain has been one of the most impressive center-backs in the Egyptian League. Combining strength and hard work, Sami has been a key player in Maqassa's defence over the past four years. The 25-year old defender has also shown good technical ability especially when on the ball.

Sami's solid defending is complimented by his leadership qualities that have led Maqassa to finish runners-up last season. Ahly are reportedly tracking him to bolster their injury-prone defense. They will be challenged by Ismaily who want to add depth to their squad in their chase for their first league title since 2004.

Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz

Smouha's central midfielder has played a key role in his team's successful campaign during this season. Abdel-Aziz, who joined the Alexandrian side in January 2017 coming from Ismaily, has played 15 games for Smouha adding strength to their midfield courtesy to his energy and ability to orchestrate the game.

He has already been spotted by Ahly and Zamalek who both will benefit from such a talent in their midfield. Smouha's president said he is open to offers but will have to find a suitable replacement before letting him go.

Mohamed Antar

The highly-rated Assiouty Sport playmaker has been a target by several clubs for months now. Antar, who wears the jersey 22 after his idol Mohamed Abou-Treika, has played instrumentally in his team's return to the Premier League this season and was already scouted by Ahly, Zamalek, Ismaily and Enppi while playing in the second division.

Coach Ali Maher insisted on keeping him in the top flight and also to give him a chance to progress. The clubs were also frustrated by the EGP 10 million price tag put on him by the club's president at the time. But after his fine displays that helped Assiouty remain at the 10th place, away from the danger zone, his value is set to rise.

(For more sports news and updates, follow Ahram Online Sports on Twitter at @AO_Sports and on Facebook at AhramOnlineSports.)

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