File photo of Zamalek striker Mostafa Mohamed
Saint Etienne said on Saturday they were "deeply sorry" for what they described as a misunderstanding with Zamalek over controversial remarks made by their co-president about the ongoing negotiations over a potential deal for striker Mostafa Mohamed.
Zamalek, enraged by television remarks from Saint Etienne's Roland Romeyer, said in a strongly-worded statement on Friday that they would no longer do business with the French club.
Romeyer incurred their wrath by accusing persons whom he did not name of asking for kickbacks to facilitate Mohamed's transfer to Saint Etienne.
Zamalek interpreted Romeyer's remarks as a direct accusation against their own officials, demanding that he provide proof for his unsubstantiated claim.
"The anger of … Romeyer was not against Zamalek's board but towards all contacts and intermediaries who wanted to get involved in the negotiation process between the two clubs regarding Mostafa Mohamed's transfer," Egyptian media quoted Jean-Luc Buisine, Saint Etienne's head of recruitment, as saying in a statement.
"AS Saint Etienne is deeply sorry for this misunderstanding. We strongly believe in Zamalek's professionalism and in the loyalty and honesty of the members of its board.
"We sincerely want that Zamalek and AS Saint Etienne keep good working relationship."
Saint Etienne had tabled a $5 million offer to sign Egypt striker Mohamed but talks with Zamalek broke down after the Cairo club rejected the Ligue 1 side's proposal to pay the fee on two instalments.
The 23-year-old helped Zamalek win the African and Egyptian Super Cups last season. He finished as the 2019 U-23 Africa Cup of Nations top scorer with four goals as the Pharaohs were crowned champions.
He returned to Zamalek in the summer of 2019 after ending a loan spell with Talae El-Geish. He scored 19 goals and provided four assists in 51 appearances last season.
Mohamed also started the new term in superb fashion, scoring twice in the opening two Egyptian Premier League games before falling out with Zamalek's board over Saint Etienne's bid.
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