Former West Bromwich Albion striker Kevin Phillips is concerned that Al-Ittihad’s alleged missed payments for Ahmed Hegazi could disrupt Baggies’ transfer activities in January, speaking in an interview with West Brom News.
The center-back initially joined the top Saudi squad on loan in October 2020 while the West Midlands side were still in the Premier League, but struck a deal that would see the Egypt international move there permanently with a purchase obligation.
The agreed fees were reported to be in the order of £ 2.5million, but the amount that Al-Ittihad must pay to the men of Valérien Ismael after the automatic activation of this clause is contested by the former, causing friction between the clubs and leading the latter to lodge a formal complaint with the governing body of UEFA.
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It’s not yet clear how much the Baggies think remains to be paid for the 30-year-old’s services, but for a team hesitant to spend during the summer transfer window after relegation, that extra cash could make all the difference. until January.
Currently Ismael’s side sit in third place and are currently four points off the top two heading into tonight’s game against Hull City, with AFC leaders Bournemouth going undefeated in the league this quarter and Fulham looking strong with the prolific Aleksandar Mitrovic in the lead.
With that, one or two marquee signings could make all the difference for a side hoping to avoid the play-off lottery again, having secured second place on their return to the Premier League in the 2019/20 campaign.
Phillips is concerned that this alleged missing money will have an impact in January, telling West Brom News: “You want money to go and strengthen the workforce in January.
“Although they have a team, they don’t have a huge team, so I think Ismael will want the money to strengthen himself.
“From a business standpoint, if you haven’t gotten paid for a player, I can’t say I know the ins and outs, but that doesn’t feel right.
“It’s not ideal to start in January with funds as tight as they are, but the manager will have already identified the players and it’s frustrating if he doesn’t have that money.”
It’s important to say that the facts need to be established on both sides before any claims are made, but the Baggies board should support Ismael whether or not he receives this payment in the January window if he does. desperately wants to return to the Premier League on first request.
Although they have a competitive squad, they lack depth in a few positions and ideally need a main striker like Daryl Dike to become their top scorer and send them back to automatic promotion.
Karlan Grant has responded well this season after a rocky start at The Hawthorns, but it looks like they’re missing a Mitrovic-type figure who currently turns out to be the difference between Fulham in second and Albion in third.
Without Mitrovic’s 18 goals in 15 games, the Cottagers would be in a much inferior position despite their quality in other areas of the pitch. And if they don’t get automatic promotion, they’ll need sufficient depth, experience and strength to make it into the play-offs.
Eliminating silly mistakes is one area they need to improve on, but as much Ismael can improve his current squad, a few winter additions would be ideal and from there they can continue their pursuit of Marco Silva’s squad and the Scott Parker’s cherries.