West Bromwich Albion have made Egypt international and mooted Liverpool target Ahmed Hegazi's loan deal from Al-Ahly permanent for an undisclosed fee after being impressed by the defender's adaptation to the rigours of the Premier League.
There was little fanfare when Hegazi arrived at the Hawthorns in the summer but the 26-year-old has since become a crowd favourite among the Baggies faithful, though his encouraging performances have not resulted in an abundance of clean sheets, with Alan Pardew's side currently dwelling in the relegation zone.
But despite West Brom's troubles, Hegazi, who was linked with a move to Liverpool just a couple of weeks ago as the Merseysiders scour the market for defensive reinforcements, has thoroughly enjoyed his time in the top-flight of English football and is confident Pardew will guide his side out of trouble as they continue to search for their first victory since August.
"I am very happy with the Club and very happy to be part of this group of players," Hegazi told the club's official website. "I know the results are not what we would want at the moment. But there is great spirit here and I am sure that we will turn the results in our favour before long."
Liverpool had approached Al Ahly about their former defender in November but will now have to pursue other options to bolster their backline, with a deal for Virgil van Dijk seen as unlikely; the Reds are not willing to pay £70m for the Southampton defender, who was dropped by Mauricio Pellegrino for his side's narrow defeat by Chelsea on the weekend.
The disruption to Liverpool's apparent transfer plans results in sheer delight for Pardew. The former Crystal Palace boss has overseen two draws and defeats during his brief spell in charge of West Brom, including a well-fought stalemate against Liverpool last week, was keen to lavish praise on Hegazi.
The Egyptian arrived from relative obscurity just a few months ago, but Pardew, who will be hoping to take all three points when his beleaguered Baggies travel to fellow strugglers Stoke City on Saturday, sees Hegazi as a player who will make up the spine of his team for years to come.
"This is great news for the Club - Ahmed has been absolutely terrific for me since I arrived and I am sure there is even more to come from him in the future," Pardew said.
"He is one of the players we can build around on the road ahead. He has a big role to play and it is good for the player and the Club to remove any doubts and make the transfer permanent. I'm sure it is something the supporters will also welcome."