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Page last updated at 11:29 GMT, Thursday, 23 October 2008 12:29 UK

English clubs target Wigan's Zaki

By Alistair Magowan

Wigan's Amr Zaki
Zaki has 27 goals in 49 appearances for his country

Wigan face a fight to keep Egyptian striker Amr Zaki as other clubs seek to sign the Premier League's top scorer.

Zaki is on a season-long loan from Egyptian club Zamalek and BBC Sport understands at least one English club has contacted them about his future.

But Zamalek board member and Zaki's former team-mate Hazem Emam said he hoped to hear from one of the Premier League's so-called 'big four' teams.

"We are looking for the best deal for him and the club," said Emam.

Zaki has risen to prominence in England this season after scoring seven league goals in eight appearances, including a fantastic overhead kick against Liverpool on Saturday.

Wigan boss Steve Bruce has already spoken of his desire to retain the 25-year-old, who he signed in the summer, but recognises Zaki's form has alerted clubs with more money.

I think it will be better next year for him to go to a bigger club than where he is now

Zamalek board member Hazem Emam

"Over the next few weeks, or however long it takes, we will try and open negotiations with Zamalek and do everything in our power to try and make sure he stays here," said Bruce.

"We haven't got first refusal on anything. But we have got to see if we can agree a transfer fee with Zamalek."

Bruce also said on Wednesday he had initially agreed a fee of 7.25m for Zaki but felt a permanent deal would be "a risk".

Zamalek are now likely to demand a bigger fee and Emam, who captained the team for 10 seasons, said his team-mate of two years had ambitions to play at the highest level.

"By his performance so far he can play anywhere," Emam told BBC Sport.

"I think if he plays for one of the big four there, or even the top six or seven he will have more service, the players will create more chances so he will score more.

606: DEBATE

"I think it will be better next year for him to go to a bigger club than where he is now," he added.

"We have had many contacts and maybe (a permanent signing) will be in January or at the end of the year but something will happen I think this year.

"(We have had) no contact from Chelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool or Arsenal but I think it will be in the future, we hope so. We are waiting and if his performances continue in the same way I think it will happen sooner or later."

Bruce also faces a struggle to keep his other striker Emile Heskey who has been in good form for Wigan and England.

When asked about a return to his former club Liverpool, 30-year-old Heskey said it would be "lovely".



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see also
Liverpool 3-2 Wigan
18 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Heskey open to Liverpool return
17 Oct 08 |  Premier League
Bruce hails Wigan's awesome Zaki
29 Sep 08 |  African
Wigan 2-1 Man City
28 Sep 08 |  Premier League


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