Zamalek inch closer to Angola's Papel

Mahmoud Sheleib , Monday 1 Jun 2020

Primeiro de Agosto’s Angolan international winger Ary Papel (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Zamalek are close to signing Primeiro de Agosto’s Angolan international winger Ary Papel in the summer to bolster their squad ahead of the upcoming season.

“Ary Papel to Zamalek? Yes, we are aiming to sign three new players including two foreigners. We will announce everything after finalising the deals. We are waiting for the contracts at the meantime,” Zamalek President Mortada Mansour told Sada El-Balad TV channel on Monday.

French coach Patrice Carteron has been reportedly interested in signing a pacy and skilful winger to add potential to his front line. Carteron has been relying on Moroccan duo Ashraf Bencharki and Mohamed Ounajem on the flanks with Ahmed "Zizo" El-Sayed serving as a backup. Talented winger Mahmoud "Shikabala" Abdel-Razeq, 34, is past his prime and injury-prone Mostafa Fathy has been struggling with his fitness.

The 26-year-old Papel, who spent 18 months in Portugal at Sporting Lisbona between January 2017 and July 2018 before returning to his homeboy club, made a good impression in the African Champions League, scoring twice in 11 games. 

As of next season the Egyptian Football Association regulations will allow four foreign players per team. Zamalek have already four foreigners Bencharki and Ounajem from Morocco, Kabongo Kasongo of DR Congo, and Ferjani Sassi of Tunisia in addition to Hamid Ahadad of Morocco, Razack Cisse of Ivory Coast and Maarouf Yussuf of Nigeria who are on loan at Raja Casablanca, Ittihad of Alexandria and Arab Contractors respectively. 

The Whites will have to offload four of them before signing Papel.

Papel's contract is reportedly around $2.2 million over three years and it will make him one of the highest paid players at Zamalek.

“Football has changed now, it’s normal to find disparities between the players’ contracts according to their experiences, skills and international appearances,” board member Hamada Anwar told a local radio station on Sunday.

The White Knights are now in the fourth place with 31 points on the Egyptian Premier League table, which was suspended due to the global pandemic since mid-March. They have also qualified for the Champions League semi-finals where they are supposed to meet Morocco’s Raja Casablanca.

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