Friday, 12 December 2008

Can Wigan Keep Hold Of Zaki In January?

The New Voice Of Football column at

With Real Madrid and Chelsea circling Wigan Athletic striker Amr Zaki. Can Latics boss Steve Bruce hold on to the Egyptian International in January if the big clubs come calling?

Since 25-year-old Zaki arrived at the JJB Stadium in the summer on a season-long loan. As a relative unknown from Egyptian side El Zamalek and took the Premier League by storm, with his all-action style and goals in the early part of the campaign. Speculation has grown that the former Lokomotiv Moscow forward will be snapped up by one of the big European sides next month.

While, Bruce insisted today that all the talk has become repetitive and boring and that Zaki belongs to Wigan for the season. Can he really do anything to stop it should Zamalek decide to sell the Egyptian from under his nose?

"It does become a bit repetitive and boring," Bruce said.

"It is Chelsea this week, Real Madrid last week, Liverpool the week before, Man City before that. I think the whole thing needs to be addressed really.

"He is ours for the rest of the season.”

After all Zamalek’s main purpose in loaning Zaki to Wigan and not sell him outright in the first place, was to raise both his profile and price tag. Which, has now happened. So should Los Merengues or the Blues, City or anyone else for that matter turn up at the door of the Egyptian club, with a wheelbarrow full of cash in January? How much thought will be given to the fact that they have an agreement with Wigan until the end of the season?

Yes, Wigan will be compensated in some sort of way, but Bruce didn’t even negotiate the option to be at the front of the queue to buy Zaki should he want him as a permanent fixture at the JJB come May next year.

Now I may be wrong here, but I can’t find anything in the rules, which prevents Zamalek recalling Zaki and selling him to another club. After all Zamalek are the club that own his registration and not Wigan. So from where I’m standing Bruce can huff and puff all he likes, but the fact remains that Zaki is not his player and by the looks of it never will be. Which means that by not having that first option to buy Zaki, Bruce saw the move as taking a punt. Something, that is now surely going to backfire on him.

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