It has been a busy summer at the Stadium of Light with Steve Bruce splashing the cash on Darren Bent, Lee Cattermole and Fraizer Campbell. With all the activity, Black Cats fans will not be surprised that there has been another addition to the squad; a year long loan deal has been agreed with Egyptian side ENPPI Cairo for their promising 21-year-old attacking full back Ahmed Al Muhammadi.
Al Muhammadi began his career at Ghazl El-Mehalla and in two seasons he made 17 appearances and scored 4 goals. With his talent evident, he was snapped up by ENPPI in 2006 and the full-back quickly went about increasing his reputation at his new club. In total he has he played 120 times for El Fallahen bagging 14 goals, not a bad return for a defender.
Although predominantly a right full-back Al Muhammadi has also been deployed as both a left-back and a right sided midfielder in his young career. This versatility will be welcome bonus for the Mackemâ€™s manager. As with any attack minded full-back, the primary weapon at his disposal is sheer pace and acceleration, allowing him to overlap his right sided midfielder and threaten the oppositionâ€™s 18-yard box. He is also able to deliver telling crosses on the run which not many full-backs are able to accomplish.
His versatility has also seen Al Muhammadi used as an emergency centre-forward. He is able to do this as he possesses excellent technique and creativity; in addition he can unleash a fierce shot without much back-lift.
Al Muhammadi has been voted the Egyptian Leagueâ€™s defender for the past two seasons. However, this season he will be playing in arguably the best league in the world, facing some of the worldâ€™s best players. Whilst this may be of concern to Sunderland fans, he has an excellent tutor to learn form.
Steve Bruce has so far been a shrewd judge of Egyptian players. Last season he brought Amir Zaki on loan to Wigan, where his goals helped the Latics to their second best Premier League finish, alongside fellow Egyptian striker Mido. Al Muhammadi is known as Egyptâ€™s answer to David Beckham, so except Sunderlandâ€™s popularity to increase dramatically in the African state.
Hertha Berlin, Blackburn and even Real Madrid had all been linked with the player, so it is not a bad coup for Bruce that he has signed with Sunderland. Al Muhammadi is definitely an unpolished diamond, but he has all the attributes and potential to make him an excellent addition to the Sunderland squad. Expect him to challenge for a first team place.
Unfortunately there is not much video evidence on Al Muhammadi that we can bring you, but two videos we we do have include a fabulous 25-yard bullet against El Zamalek (watch here) and a well-taken goal against Ismaily (watch here).