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Published in Al-Ahram Weekly on 20 - 01 - 2011

Via off-season transfers, Egyptian football clubs are fortifying themselves for the second round of the league season. Ahmed Morsy reports
Since the start of the winter transfer season on 1 January, most Egyptian league teams have been keen on injecting new blood for their rosters to enhance their standings in the league table.
With only 10 days remaining, the current transfer season's outcome is estimated at LE25.378m for 14 transfers. The cost of 24 additional moves remains for the most part unknown since some teams have opted not to announce how much new signings are worth.
In terms of cash, Essam 's move to the Sudanese club Al-Marreikh comes atop the winter deals. Egypt's international goalkeeper moved from Zamalek to Al-Marreikh after signing a three-year contract which cost the Sudanese club LE4.6 m.
After leaving Ahli to join Swiss club FC Sion in 2008, moved to Ismaili for one season before joining Zamalek. His six-month tenure with the league leaders came to an end following off-field problems with the club's board, resulting in them accepting the Sudanese offer after insisting on LE5.8m.
Sfaxien striker Dominique da Silva, who joined Ahli, comes second in the transfer standings. The Mauritanian signed a four-and-a-half year contract after leaving the Tunisian club for approximately LE3.5m in an attempt to strengthen the depleted forward line of league title holders Ahli.
The Nigerian forward Patrick Ogunsoto is currently being tested by Ahli ahead of a possible signing, which could see Liberian striker Francis Doe leave this winter. Ahli have already released Lebanese striker Mohamed Ghaddar following the arrival of coach Manuel Jose.
Emad Meteb comes third in the transfers since returning from Belgian side Standard Liege to Ahli for LE2.9m in a three-and-a-half year deal.
Zamalek could soon be featuring Mido on their squad. Zamalek's football director Ibrahim Hassan said on TV that Mido was poised to sign a three-and-a-half year deal with Zamalek starting this winter.
"He will arrive in Cairo on 20 January in order to put his signature to the contract," Hassan told Al-Mehwar TV. "We have already reached an agreement."
Mido surprisingly returned to Middlesbrough last week shortly after terminating his contract with Ajax Amsterdam due to lack of first-team opportunities.
Middlesbrough manager Tony Mowbray did not rule out the possibility of having Mido back at the Riverside but stressed that Boro could only offer the Egyptian striker a cut-price deal. Meanwhile, Mido is training with Middlesbrough's senior team, with some reports suggesting he could sign a new contract with the club in January.
Mido is reluctant to rejoin his boyhood club Zamalek since he is currently applying for British citizenship. La Liga duo Deportivo Lacuruna and Espanyol approached him before media reports claimed that Premiership side Newcastle United and Belgium's Anderlecht were also in the hunt.
Mido, who has played for the likes of Marseilles, AS Roma, Tottenham and Celta Vigo, had a sub-par performance with Zamalek last season, scoring just once before moving to the Premiership at mid-season.
Algerian striker Mohamed Amein joined Zamalek from JS Kabylie of Algeria for LE1.1m.
Locally, Arab Contractors striker Ehab El-Masri was a major boost for Misri after penning a three-and-a-half contract for LE2.250m.
Second-place Petrojet boosted their squad's chances of a first league crown by signing Damnhour striker Islam Fouad to a four-and-a- half year contract worth LE2m.
Misri striker Sameh El-Eydarous joined Misr Lelmkassah for LE2.3m after he put his John Hancock on a two-year-and-a-half contract.
Military Production's playmaker Momen Zakarya joined Misri for LE1m.
Prominent deals whose cost is a mystery include Nigerian striker John Owoeri who is linked to Ismaili from Heartland after singing a three-and-a-half year contract. Owoeri, 23, joined Heartland from Nigerian champions Enyimba in 2009 and seems to have impressed Ismaili boss Mark Wotte over the two Champions League games played last season.
Free agent Ahmed Samir rejoined Zamalek upon signing a new two-and-a-half-year deal after being released by Belgian side Lierse in August.
Libyan striker Ayman Badr joined Haras Al-Hedoud from the Irish club Sporting Fingal for an 18-month spell.

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