By Danny Wright

16th Dec, 2017 | 9:31am

Talks underway: International PL defender wanted by Liverpool nears Jan switch - reports

West Brom have started talks with Al-Ahly over completing a permanent deal to sign defender Ahmed Hegazi in January after interest from Liverpool, according to reports.

The Express and Star claims that the Baggies have first refusal on Hegazi, 26, and are nearing a £4.5million deal to turn his loan stay at the Hawthorns into a permanent one.

ESPN has reported that Liverpool were interested in Egypt international Hegazi, who has been in great form since arriving in the Premier League during the summer.

Hegazi put in a man of the match shift on Wednesday night when West Brom earned a 0-0 draw at Anfield, keeping his international team-mate Mohamed Salah quiet for 90 minutes.

The former Fiorentina defender has made 18 appearances across all competitions this season for Albion, scoring one goal which came on his Premier League debut against Bournemouth in August.

Hawthorns boss Alan Pardew has been blown away by Hegazi in his first few games in charge and has suggested that there has been progress made in signing the Egyptian colossus.

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“We’re pretty much down the road on that one,” said Pardew, as quoted by the Express and Star. “I can’t confirm anything but if we can then we’ll do that.

“He’s been brilliant for me. I’ve only been here for three games but he’s been terrific.”

Football Insider Verdict

Hegazi is a very good defender and although Liverpool want him, it appears that he is well out of their grasp with Albion striking up a very clever loan deal in the summer. The Egypt international would have been a good team-mate with Salah and perhaps would have been an improvement on players like Ragnar Klavan. Jurgen Klopp needs to sign one or two new centre-backs in January. Although his defensive problem has got better in the past few weeks, it is still a major weakness of his squad and against other big sides it is becoming a real liability. Virgil van Dijk has to be considered again.

In other Liverpool news, the Reds are set to pounce on this right-sided flyer in January.

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