Exclusive: Burnley, Sheffield Utd battle Championship duo for Saudi Pro League outcast Hegazy

Ahmed Hegazy linked with return to England

Ahmed Hegazy linked with return to England

Former West Bromwich Albion defender Ahmed Hegazy is being lined up for a possible move back to England, TEAMtalk has learned. 

The 32-year-old is currently in the Saudi Pro League with Al Ittihad having moved the Middle East in 2020. Hagazi, though, has found himself on the outside of Al Ittihad’s squad following the recent influx of overseas players.

Hagazy could be allowed to leave on a free transfer, and a number of clubs in the UK are keeping a close eye on the situation. TEAMtalk understands that Burnley, Sheffield United, Middlesbrough and Cardiff are amongst those looking at the situation.

Both Rangers and Celtic have also been offered the chance to the sign the Egyptian international.

The centre-back’s current contract at Al Ittihad runs until 2026 but he has been left out of their Saudi Pro League squad and can’t feature for the side before the end of the year.

Hagazy joined from West Brom back in October 2020 on an initial loan deal before the Saudi side made his deal permanent in June 2021 but the defender has had his fair share of struggles since then.

Although Hegazy has made 80 appearances for the club since then, during which time he has scored 10 goals and helped them to their first league title since 2009, he has struggled with injuries and has fallen down the pecking order as a result.

Towards the end of least season, Hegazy ruptured the ACL in his left knee – his third ACL injury – and kept him on the sidelines for six months. He missed 12 matches as a result of the injury and the club have been worried he wouldn’t be able to return to the decent form of his pre-injury career.

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Gallardo provides hope to Hegazy?

Nuno Espirito Santo, who was keen on shipping out Hegazy, was sacked as manager earlier this month and the club confirmed his replacement as Argentinian manager Marcelo Gallardo. The new boss put pen to paper on a contract running until 2025.

Gallardo makes a return to management following after an 11-month hiatus from the dugout having left River Plate in 2022 following an eight-year spell that saw him guide the team to 14 titles, including two Copa Libertadores, and made him the club’s most successful coach.

Al Ittihad have moved up to fourth in the Saudi Pro League but have won just one of their last five games, with a loss and three draws under their belt. Although only two points behind Al Ahli in third, Al-Nassr and Al-Hilal are nine points and 13 points ahead of them respectively.

A new man in the dug out could provide some much needed hope to Hegazy and start him with a clean slate at the club but should he see his future away from Saudi Arabia, with Championship and Premier League clubs interest in his signature.

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