Liverpool's latest signing – sort of – says he is ready to make a name for himself at Anfield. Nabil El Zhar was signed by Liverpool prior to the close of the summer transfer window but due to a dispute with his previous club has been kicking his heels for the last couple of months.
The Reds agreed a four-year-deal with the Moroccan youngster which he signed in August. Liverpool and El Zhar were convinced that he was a free agent, but his last club St Etienne said that they were due a fee or some form of compensation. The dispute meant Liverpool weren't allowed to play the striker but now FIFA have given Liverpool permission to do so until the argument is settled.
Twenty-year-old El Zhar played in a friendly against Sunderland last week and was part of the reserve side that lost 4-1 to Newcastle last night. Best we gloss over last night's result, with our only goal coming from Robbie Fowler.
As for the dispute with St Etienne, a spokesman for FIFA would only confirm that a case had been lodged by St Etienne: “There is a case pending with St Etienne claiming the breaking of a contract. We cannot comment any further at this time.”
El Zhar has spoken previously of feeling that St Etienne were not the right club for him: “St Etienne offered me a professional deal but I waited before signing it because I was unconvinced it was in my best interests to stay. When we came back for pre-season training I came back with the seniors, but they weren't really expecting me.”
That's when he decided to leave the French side: “So I preferred to pack my suitcases and go somewhere where I'd have a long-term future, that's to say Liverpool. They are a big club, but I'm convinced I've made the right decision to sign for them. I'm aiming on making a name for myself here. It's my intention to play in the first team eventually. I want to prove myself, make a name for myself and, if I do that, my chances will come here.”
FIFA are expected to set up a tribunal to decide on what fee if any Liverpool should pay for the player.