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Ahly's biggest signing
Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 03 - 01 - 2019

Cairo football giants Ahly have officially confirmed the club-record signing of Egyptian international Hussein Al-Shahat from Al-Ain of the UAE to a long-term contract.
Al-Shahat, 26, passed the requisite medical and fitness tests and finalised personal terms with Ahly. He joins Ahly for a club-record $5 million signing, becoming Ahly's fifth winter addition and arguably the best of the lot.
A number of Egyptian and Gulf clubs sought to sign Al-Shahat but his strong desire to play for Ahly played a huge role in cementing the deal.
Al-Shahat joined Al-Ain on a six-month loan transfer a year ago from Masr Al-Makasa of Egypt before the club made the move permanent a few months later with a total fee of $2.7 million.
Al-Shahat played for Al-Ain for one year. He scored 15 goals and provided 17 assists in 33 games. He helped Al-Ain become the first Arab club to reach the final of the Club World Cup before losing to European champions Real Madrid and securing silver in Abu Dhabi in December.
On the international level, Al-Shahat represented Egypt three times, making his debut in a friendly against Greece in March last year.
Al-Shahat talked to Al-Ain's official Website: “I owe Al-Ain a lot. I lived the best moments of my career here with Al-Ain. I will never forget this year in my entire life. I won here two titles and reached the final of the Club World Cup for the first time. I wish all the success for the team in the upcoming competitions.
“It was a great pleasure for me that I played for Al-Ain. I want to thank the club's president and all the fans for everything they did for me,” he added.
“I cannot express my happiness about joining the African Club of the Century. Playing for Ahly was always my childhood dream. Personally, I am ready to help the club in the upcoming competitions and defend the colours of my team.”
Egypt's former international player and Ahly legend Mohamed Abu Treika tweeted about the Al-Shahat transfer to Ahly: “The fans will never forget what you did to join Ahly. You have already become a symbol for the club before even playing a single game. By joining Ahly you will not only win titles but also the hearts of millions of fans. In a world where only money talks, choosing Ahly will always be more important than money.”
Al-Shahat will help Ahly greatly in the Egyptian Premier League where they are struggling. After last week's loss to newcomers Pyramids FC, Ahly can ill-afford to lose more points in the Premier League title race with arch-rivals Zamalek. Right now, Ahly, the defending champions, are in sixth place with 24 points from 13 games. They are 17 points behind Zamalek who are on top of the Egyptian League table with 41 points from 16 games.
Even if Ahly win their three postponed games, they will still be eight points behind Zamalek.
Late last year, Ahly were knocked out of the final of the African Champions League and the Arab Cup in quick succession.
Al-Shahat can play several positions – right or left winger, centre forward and centre attacking midfielder. He can help the team as a right back, his position in Masr Al-Makasa.
With the return of new loan signing from Huddersfield Ramadan Sobhi as left winger, Al-Shahat as right wing, Walid Suleiman centre attacking midfielder and Moroccan Walid Azzaro in the role of striker, Ahly's new Uruguay coach Martin Lasarte could line up with 4-2-3-1.
Lasarte could also start with a 4-4-2, playing with Suleiman, Junior Ajay, Sobhi and Nasser Maher in the midfield while Azzaro and Al-Shahat playing as two strikers.
Ahly also signed Yasser Ibrahim, Smouha centre back, for LE30 million. But it is painfully clear that the club still needs at least another centre back and a centre defensive midfielder if they want to win the league and advance in the new African Champions League season and domestic cup.

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