West Bromwich Albion have officially completed the signing of experienced defender Ali Gabr from Zamalek as question marks still linger regarding the future of captain Jonny Evans, who continues to be linked with a late January move to Arsenal.
The Baggies confirmed the arrival of Ahmed Hegazi's Egyptian international teammate, 29, on Monday (29 January), a week after Zamalek president Mortada Mansour revealed that a €500,000 agreement - also believed to include a permanent £1.1m ($1.5m) summer option and a potential 15% sell-on clause - had been reached over a loan deal until the end of the season.
"He's a player that we first identified at the African Cup of Nations where he played alongside Ahmed," said West Brom technical director Nick Hammond. "We've continued to follow his progress since then and saw a good opportunity to do a deal in this window.
"The structure is the same as for Ahmed - it's a well-structured deal for the club. Ali is strong, dominant in the air and he's got good pace as well. This is a great opportunity for him and we're delighted to have him here."
How Gabr's arrival may impact upon the future of Evans remains to be seen. The former Manchester United stalwart appears to have no intention of signing a new contract with West Brom and it was reported earlier this month that his current deal contains a clause that could see him leave for just £3m in the summer if the club, currently 19th and three points adrift of safety ahead of Wednesday's trip to leaders Manchester City, are relegated from the Premier League.
Arsenal and City were both reported to have revived their respective pursuits of the Northern Ireland international this month after each failing with summer offers, with the latter's decision to switch targets to Athletic Club Bilbao defender Aymeric Laporte seemingly leaving the Gunners as his lone suitors.
Athletic announced earlier today that Laporte's £57m release clause had been paid and the player was expected to travel to England this evening to complete his transfer after posting a farewell message to fans on social media.
Arsenal, meanwhile, have finally settled on a £55.4m fee with Borussia Dortmund for wantaway striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang - an agreement that appeared to end any possibility of a late swoop for Evans with The Telegraph suggesting that a summer switch was now more likely with the FA Cup holders apparently not viewing deals for both players in this window as financially sensible.
According to The Mirror, Arsenal still want to sign the 30-year-old but are not willing to pay his £20m asking price and may need to additionally offload Olivier Giroud - Chelsea's first-choice alternative to Edin Dzeko - if they want to bring in both him and Aubameyang.
Speaking last week, West Brom manager Alan Pardew, who is on the verge of completing a loan deal for Liverpool outcast Daniel Sturridge, emphatically dismissed reports over a £10m offer for Evans that also included right-back Mathieu Debuchy, but admitted he could be sold if the "price is right".
He later admitted that a hamstring injury sustained by the player during Saturday's FA Cup fourth-round win over Liverpool could affect their decision and also stated that any attempts to drag the saga beyond the weekend and towards the mayhem of deadline day would not be warmly received.