LONDON: Pyramids FC are confident that a deal for Egyptian international Ramadan Sobhi will be wrapped up within days, despite their initial bid for the former English Premier League star being rejected by Huddersfield Town after being the lowest of the offers received for the in-demand winger.
Sobhi left Stoke City in June 2018 for £5.7 million ($7.5 million) but struggled to settle at Huddersfield. In Jan. 2019 he was loaned to Cairo titans Al Ahly, where he has scored four goals in six games so far this season for the runaway Egyptian Premier League leaders.
With Huddersfield’s relegation to the Championship, England’s second tier, Sobhi is keen to stay in Egypt and prefers a move to Pyramids, but the stumbling block at the moment is that the Egyptian club, which was taken over by UAE businessman Salem Al Shamsi in 2019, have offered less than league rivals Zamalek and Al Ahly.
“Negotiations with Huddersfield have been going well and we expect that all will be sorted very soon,” a Pyramids FC official told Arab News, indicating that a new offer would be made. “There are a few things to sort out but we look forward to welcoming a talented player. He will be a valuable addition to the squad.”
According to the official, while Zamalek have offered £3.6 million, more than Pyramids, the club is not serious about signing the player, who has been injured for much of this season, but is acting to try and drive his price up for their rivals.
Even so, Pyramids know they have to increase their bid which is a blow to Al Ahly. When Al Ahly loaned the Egyptian international, who appeared at the 2018 World Cup, from Huddersfield, it was agreed that the Cairo giants would have first option on a permanent deal.
“The negotiations with Al Ahly started a long time before the end of the loan period,” Huddersfield CEO Mark Devlin said. “Al Ahly wanted to buy Ramadan permanently and we enjoyed working with them because they are very honest. We were surprised after we found out that Ramadan doesn’t want to join Al Ahly, but the final decision belongs to the player and he is the one who decides where to play.”
According to Huddersfield, there have been offers from European teams, though the club declined to name the interested parties, but Arab News understands that they include Serie A side Udinese, Greek giants Olympiacos and Besiktas of Turkey.
“We were offered £5 million for Ramadan from clubs outside Egypt, which is a fee we could accept. I know the player wants Pyramids but their offer was not good enough,” Devlin added. “Their offer is the lowest of the offers we've received and is not something we will agree to.”
While Huddersfield have said that they are prepared to take Sobhi back for pre-season training, the club are keen to use the money in order to help rebuild a team that finished a disappointing 18th in the 2019-20 Championship season. In June, the West Yorkshire club appointed Spain’s Carlos Corberan as head coach, a seventh manager in the space of 18 months.
Pyramids currently sit in third position in the Egyptian Premier League, but with 14 games remaining this season are 20 points behind leaders Al Ahly.
Pyramids boss Ante Cacic told reporters not to get ahead of themselves when it came to the potential arrival of the winger. “Sobhi is a good player and would be an important part of our squad if he were to come here but I prefer to focus on the players that I have at my disposal at the moment,” the former Croatia coach said.