columnist Rob Facey wonders whether Wigan missed a trick when
they turned down the chance to permanently sign Amr Zaki, and wonders whether
they will be able to keep hold of the player after reports that Man City and
Liverpool are lurking nearby.
Amr Zaki may not be a household name just yet, but if he
continues to score goals at the current rate he is doing so, there won't be a
football fan in the country who doesn't know who he is.
Wigan's Egyptian striker currently leads the Premier League
scoring charts and has been linked to big-spenders Manchester City as well as
Liverpool, where he scored two goals in front of the Kop on Saturday.
Some reports have suggested that Zaki's representatives have
already started negotiations other clubs, but Wigan boss Steve Bruce reassured
fans that he and the chairman are doing all they can to make the signing
"The truth of the matter is he is on loan with us
until June. That's a fact," Bruce said in the Guardian.
"Over the next few weeks, or however long it
takes, we will try and open negotiations with Zamalek and do everything in our
power to try and make sure he stays here."
Bruce remains defiant that Zaki would want to stay at the
JJB, despite the fact the Latics don't even have first refusal on the striker.
"He's our player, so we're in the driving seat. We
haven't got first refusal on anything. But we have got to see if we can agree a
transfer fee with Zamalek."
The loan fee,
such is the norm these days, stands at a minute £1.25m, although this will rise
depending on the number of goals the striker scores in the Premier League.
A £7.5m fee was
agreed in principle between the two clubs for the permanent signing of the
player, but with nothing written in a contract, Wigan could find themselves priced
this sum of money is small change to the likes of the Abu Dhabi group, do Wigan
have any hope in keeping Zaki on? Even Bruce seems concerned.
"We have still got a chance – that is the most
important thing – and we will do our utmost. I know the chairman thinks the
world of him, so we will try to strike a deal."
Come January will
we hear the classic "if the right club comes in, I'll consider it" phrase?
Steve Bruce is
his number one fan, but it is unlikely that his goalscoring exploits have not
pricked a few ears in the Premier League, if not Serie A, La Liga or even
It seems as
though Wigan have a fight on their hands to keep Amr Zaki and it seems as
though bad forward planning could see them lose out. Bruce seems worried that
his caution when it came to permanently signing the player in the summer could
cost his side, could this decision prove costly?
Will the fact
they don't have first refusal prove decisive? Would Zaki really turn down a
move to Anfield at this stage in his career? Will the bright lights and big
wages at Eastlands prove too tempting?
Do Wigan and
Steve Bruce have any hope of retaining Amr Zaki?