Veteran Oman goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi has made a return to English football after signing for Championship side West Bromwich Albion from Saudi Arabia’s Al Hilal FC.
Al-Habsi has been with the Saudi Pro League outfit Al Hilal since returning from his 15-year stay in Europe of which he spent 12 years playing for English clubs Bolton Wanderers, Wigan Athletic, Brighton and Hove Albion and Reading FC.
The 37-year-old Oman skipper had been undergoing a week-long training stint at West Brom following which he signed a one-year deal with the side managed by Slaven Bilic, who also spent last season in Saudi Arabia with Al Ittihad Club.
Experienced goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi has joined us on a deal which runs until the end of the 2019/20 season. ✍🏼
— West Bromwich Albion (@WBA) August 29, 2019
WBA said that they expect Al-Habsi to provide “further competition to senior pair Sam Johnstone and Jonathan Bond.”
“I’ve spent 12 years in English football and when the chance to come here and finish my career in England in a nice way came around, I had no doubts. I knew ‘Bondy’ [goalkeeper Bond] from my time at Reading and I spoke with Ahmed (Hegazi) who I’ve followed since he came here and it is fantastic to be here,” Al-Habsi told the club’s official website.
“I want to help the team and help the keepers – I know the target of the club is to go back into the Premier League and I want to be part of that. It would be brilliant for me. What I’ve seen so far is really, really good,” he told.
بفضل من الله ، العودة إلى اجواء الدوري الإنجليزي عبر بوابة نادي ويست بروميتش العريق لمدة عام قابل للتجديد .
— Ali Al-Habsi (@AliAlhabsi) August 29, 2019
“Everybody in Oman will be very, very happy that I have this chance to finish my career here in England. They have been contacting me all the time to find out what was happening,” the shot-stopper said.