Pyramids FC continue to shake up African football with spending spree
Moneybags Egyptian Premier League side Pyramids FC have made another major move in the transfer market and are also lining up a deal for former Arsenal star Samir Nasri as their new-found status as the richest club in Africa continues to shake-up football in the continent.
Pyramids FC has already announced the signing of Brazilian midfielder Rodriguinho who won the Serie A title in his country with Corinthians in 2015 and 2017.
The 30-year-old becomes the fifth Brazilian player at the club after Keno, Lucas Ribamar, Arthur and Carlos Eduardo as Saudi Arabian owner Turki Alalshikh continues his spending spree.
Rodriguinho has cost $6 million and is a further flexing of the muscles by the club, who are hoping to break the grip that Cairo giants Al Ahly and Zamalek have on Egyptian football.
Alalshikh, who is also the Saudi Arabian minister of sport, is hoping to make a further statement at the clubs has offered a deal to ex-Premier League star Nasri.
The 31-year-old, who also played for Manchester City, left Turkish side Antalyaspor at the end of last season and is currently a free agent.
France Football reports that he is not too keen on playing in Egypt, but in the end money talks and if the size of the offer is tempting he may change his mind.
Certainly, the pockets of Alalshikh appear deep enough to get his man if he wants to make the deal happen.
Teams from across the continent will be wary of the new threat posed by Pyramids FC, though for the moment they seem to be focused on bringing in South American talent to blend in with their local stars.
Alalshikh has already brought in Brazilian coach Alberto Valentim from Botafogo to lead the team on matchday and work with former Al-Ahly tactician Hossam El-Badry, who is the chairman of the club tasked with dealing with day-to-day matters.
Adding to the knowledge pool is the arrival of ex-Mexico national team coach Ricardo La Volpe, who is actually Argentinean and has coached at the World Cup in the past.
It is a formidable unit and provided there are no clashes of personalities, a technical team primed to bring domestic and continental success.
Not content with only bringing in overseas talent, Pyramids FC has also weakened local rivals Zamalek by signing Egypt internationals Tarek Hamed and Ali Gabr, and will inevitably turn their attention to Al-Ahly’s top stars too.
The Cairo teams will oppose sales to their new rivals as far as they can, but with the earnings put on the table, players are sure to be unsettled and perhaps willing to let their contracts run down.
It is the biggest shake-up in Egyptian football for decades, arguably ever, with all bar one of the last 25 league seasons that have been completed seeing either Ahly or Zamalek lifting the title. Only Ismaily in 2001/02 broke their run.
Current champions Ahly have 40 titles to their name, Zamalek 12, with the only other winners of the league being Ismaily (three), and Tersana, Ghazl El-Mahalla, El Olympi and El Mokawloon with one each, though most were in the 1960s and 70s.
However, the established order will do well to keep Pyramids FC off the podium gave their quality in the squad and the wealth of knowledge they have on the bench.
Pyramids FC were formed after the sale of modest Alassiouty Sport, a team in the ancient town of Asyut on the banks of the Nile, some 400-kilometres south of Cairo, to Alalshikh in June.
He was previously the honorary president of Ahly and reportedly a financial backer of the team, but had a fall-out with the club’s board and has decided to start his own project.
Alalshikh is a key sports figure in the Arab world, holding positions not on in Saudi Arabia’s General Sports Authority, but also the Union of Arab Football Associations, Saudi Arabian Olympic Committee and the Islamic Solidarity Sports Federation. He is also a member of the Saudi Royal Court.
He was appointed to head the General Sports Authority in September last year, soon after the start of the reign of Saudi Arabia’s Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
He has possibly precipitated a new dawn for not just Egyptian football, but the game on the African continent as a whole.