Ahly will not pursue their interest in Sundowns' Uruguayan forward Gaston Sirino if he plays with his South African side in the African Champions League, the Cairo club's football director said on Wednesday.
The Red Devils failed in their bid to land Sirino, who is reportedly keen on a switch to Cairo, before the transfer deadline day earlier this week, having had two offers rejected by Sundowns.
Ahly's latest offer valued the 29-year-old at $2.25 million, well short of Sundowns' reported asking price of $6 million.
"This is normal in football as they could not meet the transfer fee we expected," Sundowns senior official Yogesh Singh told South African website TimesLIVE.
"If Al Ahly or any other club is interested in any of our players they can do the right thing and approach us directly and we can talk."
The Red Devils said they can still make another attempt to sign Sirino when the transfer window re-opens, on condition that he does not become cup-tied.
"Coach Pitso Mosimane is still interested in Sirino, but everything is open in negotiations, especially that it is Sundowns' sole right to decide whether to sell him," Ahly's football director Sayed Abdel-Hafiz said in a television interview.
"We will definitely not try to sign him if he features with Sundowns in the Champions League round of 32 as we mainly target players who can strengthen our African squad."
Ahly have already offloaded Senegalese striker Aliou Badji after he failed to impress. Angolan winger Geraldo could also leave the club.
Despite winning a remarkable treble last season (the Egyptian league, cup and African Champions League), Ahly were still criticised for their lack of firepower upfront, with main striker Marwan Mohsen guilty of squandering numerous easy chances.
Ahly's South African coach Mosimane is a big fan of Sirino, who he managed at Sundowns in a fruitful spell for the team.
Last season, Sirino scored 13 goals and provided 10 assists in 41 games in all competitions as Sundowns won the domestic treble.
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