Move to Wigan
Zaki was recommended to Steve Bruce, then manager of Wigan Athletic, by Wes Saunders, the former footballer, manager and agent. Bruce was impressed that Zaki could cut it against a team of the Ivory Coast's standard in the semi-final of the 2008 Africa Cup of Nations - scoring twice in the 4-1 win before going on to retain the title - and went out to watch him play for Zamalek. Wigan's £4.1million offer was turned down.
Zaki begged Zamalek to let him make his dream move to England, and after six months of trying Bruce got his man on loan for a fee of £1,250,000 in July 2008. £7.25m was Zamalek's asking price for a permanent transfer, but this was in principal only and not written into the loan agreement.