FILE - former Zamalek player and West Bromwich Albion's new signing Ali Gabr
CAIRO – 29 January 2018: West Bromwich Albion announced on Monday that Ali Gabr has joined the club from Zamalek on a six-month loan with the option for a permanent transfer at the end of the season.
“I'm here to help the team and do my job. I'm very happy and excited to be here. I'm really looking forward to getting started with the players and the team," Gabr told the club’s official website after signing his contract.
Gabr, 29, was born in Alexandria and started his career with the city giants, Ittihad, before leaving to play two years for Ismaily. Gabr returned to Ittihad in 2012 and since then established himself as a top class defender in the Egyptian League.
In 2014, Gabr joined Zamalek, where he shined in his first year with the club, leading them to win the double.
“He's a player that we first identified at the African Cup of Nations, where he played alongside Ahmed. Ali is strong, dominant in the air and he's got good pace as well. This is a great opportunity for him, and we're delighted to have him here," the club’s technical director, Nick Hammond, told the official website.
Gabr played a great role in the national team’s recent successes, as he formed a defensive partnership with his new teammate at West Brom, Ahmed Hegazi, leading the national team to the 2017 African Cup of Nations final and to qualify to the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
Gabr is expected to replace the club’s captain, Jonny Evans, who had offers to join Premier League giants Manchester City and Arsenal.