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Apr 6, 2009

Agent claims Wigan still want to keep Zaki

Mystery still surrounds the whereabouts and future of Wigan Athletic's AWOL on-loan striker Amr Zaki.

The Egyptian striker was due to report back to his club last Tuesday, more than 36 hours after his country's 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw against Zambia, but despite numerous attempts by Wigan to contact the player he could not be traced and has yet to return to the club.

But, despite describing Zaki as the most unprofessional player he has ever worked with, the player's agent Nader Shawky claims that Wigan boss Steve Bruce still wants to sign the Zamalek player on a permanent basis in the summer.

''I talked to Bruce on Friday morning and we talked a lot about the press release of the coach on Wigan's official website," Shawky told superkoora.com. ''The story is that Bruce is mad about Amr's delayed return to the team which had players from South America who already returned to the team - even the injured players.

''We have sent medical reports to Wigan which state that the player should get rest for a week, whether here in Egypt or there, but they want him to get back in order to check his status for themselves.

''The press release of Steve Bruce has nothing to do with any other issues. The problem between Amr and Wigan could be solved and it is going to be solved, especially as Bruce wants Zaki to continue his spell with Wigan.''

If Wigan do intend to agree a deal for the striker in the summer they could face competition from Newcastle United, who according to the Daily Mail are considering a £6m bid for the player who celebrated his 26th birthday last Wednesday.

This is the fourth occasion this season Zaki has returned late from international duty and he will be fined heavily by Bruce, who is also planning showdown talks with Zaki as soon as he returns to the UK.

Speaking after Sunday's 4-0 defeat at Everton, Bruce said: ''I find it ridiculous that this club, who have given him his chance in England and pay him very well I might add, are not being treated properly.

''We are not being shown any respect, it is totally nonsensical. We believe he has a hamstring (injury), but we do not know how bad because we have not been able to assess him.

''We have had some sort of fax or e-mail to our medical people about it, but how bad it is we will not know until he reports back. He is still in Egypt and may be back some time in the week but we do not know when.

''We must now find out what his mindset is and what he is up to. It is a ridiculous situation, I have never known anything like it.''

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