According to ESPN, Newcastle are now interested in a deal to sign West Brom centre-back Ahmed Hegazi – however we’re set to face competition from Brighton for the Egyptian international.
The 6ft 4′ centre-back only joined the Baggies last summer, however he could be moved on over the coming week and a half following their relegation to the Championship.
He played 42 times last season, scoring twice, and actually made a decent impression despite their struggling season – being dominant in the air and looking surprisingly good on the ball for his size.
Here’s a snippet from ESPN’s piece on the defender, claiming we may be ready to trigger his £10m release clause (although I find that a little hard to believe myself):
“Newcastle and Brighton are eyeing moves for West Brom’s Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi, sources have told ESPN FC.
“Hegazi started all 38 Premier League games for West Brom last season and his impressive performances have brought him to the attention of a number of Premier League clubs, with Newcastle and Brighton pushing to sign a centre-back before the transfer window closes.
“West Brom are keen to keep hold of Hegazi but know they are facing a losing battle following their relegation.
“Hegazi, who was one of West Brom’s shining lights this season despite their relegation, has a release clause in the region of £10 million in his contract at the Hawthorns, sources said.
“The news has alerted Hegazi’s suitors, who are ready to trigger the release clause as they look to land the Egyptian for a bargain fee before the close of the transfer window.
“Newcastle boss Rafa Benitez is in the market for defensive reinforcements after losing Florian Lejeune for a large chunk of next season with a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained in preseason.”
Bleacher Reports ‘Football Insider’ Dean Jones has also confirmed our interest in the 27-year old:
There is interest in West Brom defender Ahmed Hegazi from Brighton and Newcastle.
— Dean Jones (@DeanJonesBR) July 30, 2018
Are we really ready to pay £10m – probably a considerable chunk of Rafa’s budget – on a centre-back only needed to cover Florian Lejeune over the coming 6-9 months? I’d be happy too, but I expected his replacement to arrive on the cheap or on loan.
An unpopular opinion no doubt, but I’d actually be happy with Hegazi, however I can only see it happening if West Brom would accept quite a bit less than his alleged £10m release clause..
With our budget clearly limited, I can’t see us paying this for a player needed to provide cover at centre-back?