West Bromwich Albion boss Slaven Bilic has been left raging after the exit of Ahmed Hegazi to Ittihad Club earlier this week.
The 29-year-old defender sealed a move to the Saudi Arabian Premier League side on Monday, signing an initial loan deal which also includes an option to make it permanent next summer.
Hegazi, who appeared once in the Premier League prior to Monday’s transfer, had spent the last three years of his career at the Hawthorns after arriving in 2017 from Egyptian side Al Ahly.
In total, the 59-cap Egypt international made 104 appearances for the Baggies, helping them gain automatic promotion from the Championship to the Premier League this summer.
Why has Hegazi’s sale upset Slaven Bilic?
Speaking after his side’s 1-1 draw with Brighton, the Croatian coach revealed that he did not sanction the move.
He told reporters (via Sky Sports News): “It definitely wasn’t my decision. It wasn’t a football decision to be fair. I am very disappointed. We are a team that needs all our good players.
“He is the player that has know-how in the Premier League, that has vast experience, a national team player, a great professional and played last week against Burnley.
“The whole week he was training with us and when we were doing the shape, even on Saturday, he was there.
“I had assurances he was going to stay and so that makes me very, very disappointed that he left.”
Limited Baggies options at centre-back
With Hegazi’s exit, the Baggies worryingly now have just four options to play at centre-back with Kyle Bartley, Semi Ajayi, Branislav Ivanovic and Cedric Kipre available.
Dara O’Shea is also capable of playing at centre-back but Bilic is understandably still very upset that the experience of the Egyptian is no longer available to him.
West Brom need to find some consistency after what has been a lacklustre start to the campaign and the pressure will now be on the aforementioned defenders to ensure Hegazi’s exit is not one that sees the Baggies suffer.
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