Egypt defender Ali Gabr completes move to West Bromwich on loan

Ahram Online , Monday 29 Jan 2018

Egypt
Egypt's defender Ali Gabr (Photo: wba.co.uk)

Zamalek's Egyptian defender Ali Gabr has completed his loan to West Bromwich until the end of this season with an option to make the deal permanent, the Premier League side announced on Monday.

"I'm here to help the team and do my job. I'm very happy and excited to be here,"  Gabr told the club's official website after signing on Monday.

"Of course this is a great opportunity to come to the Premier League - the best league in the world," he said. "It's something I couldn't say 'no' to," he added

The 29-year-old has been one of Zamalek’s key players since joining from Alexandria-based club Ittihad in the summer of 2014, helping them win a rare domestic double in 2015 and the Egypt Cup title in 2016.

He formed a solid partnership with camptriot Ahmed Hegazi at the heart of Egypt’s four-man backline during the team’s run to the African Cup of Nations final in February 2017.

"I spoke to Ahmed a lot before I came over," Ali smiled. "We were in constant contact.
 
"We've known each other for a long time and have played with each other for a long time - even when we were much younger. I feel very comfortable playing alongside him because of our experience together with the national team."
 
Hegazi joined the Baggies on a season-long loan deal last summer, producing many fine displays that prompted the Premier League side to make his loan deal permanent last December.   

"He's a player that we first identified at the African Cup of Nations where he played alongside Ahmed Hegazi," West Bromwich's technical Director Nick Hammond told the club's official website on Monday.

"We've continued to follow his progress since then and saw a good opportunity to do a deal in this window."

"The structure is the same as for Ahmed - it's a well-structured deal for the club. Ali is strong, dominant in the air and he's got good pace as well. This is a great opportunity for him and we're delighted to have him here."

Gabr has made 18 international appearances since making his debut with Egypt in 2014. He was part of the Pharaohs side that reached the 2018 World Cup in Russia after a 28-year absence. 

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