There's Something About Amr (part 9)

Last updated : 19 January 2010 By Andy Beill

He said: "About the future, I can't name any clubs for the time being but I can confirm that two French clubs offered to sign Zaki.

"We have an offer from one of the promoted clubs in the Premier League too.

"The problem is that Zaki wants to play in England. Also, French clubs won't pay the same level of wages as Premiership clubs.

"The deal is expected to be a permanent one. Zaki won't like to sign loan deals again.

"Zamalek officials are willing to let Zaki go permanently at the right price."

Portsmouth were linked with Zaki on more than one occasion, firstly over a £2million loan deal and then a £3million permanent move, but those terms didn't suit the parties involved. Once Tal Ben-Haim and Avram Grant joined Pompey, any chance of a deal was dead. According to a quote attributed to Zaki on his own website:

"Not as long as Pompey continue to employ Israelis and an Algerian.

"I refused their offer before, but now joining Portsmouth is no longer an option for me.

"After Portsmouth signed an Israeli player and also hired an Israeli football director a possible move was ruled out. On top of that, no way could I play at Portsmouth with an Algerian within in their ranks."

An offer from top Greek side Panathinaikos was also rebuffed by Zaki in December as he devoted himself to Zamalek.

He suffered a blow when he learned he would not be in Egypt's squad for the 2010 Africa Cup of Nations due to a hamstring injury. He claimed he would be fit for the latter stages of the tournament but did not get a call-up.

He had also become unhappy at Zamalek and went absent without leave as he sought a move back to England, with Stoke reportedly leading the chase. Blackburn were also mentioned, as were Sunderland - now managed by Steve Bruce and therefore the unlikeliest of destinations.

Click here for part 10 - Zaki's move to Hull City