West Brom manager Bilic shocked by Hegazi's departure

FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - Championship - Huddersfield Town v West Bromwich Albion - John Smith's Stadium, Huddersfield, Britain - July 17, 2020 West Bromwich Albion's manager Slaven Bilic before the match Action Images/Jason Cairnduff/File Photo

(Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion manager Slaven Bilic said he did not want Egyptian defender Ahmed Hegazi to leave the club and was shocked when he made the switch to Al Ittihad.

West Brom said on Monday the 29-year-old centre back had moved to the Saudi Professional League side on loan and would sign permanently at the end of the season.

Bilic said Hegazi had been part of his plans for Monday's Premier League game against Brighton & Hove Albion, which ended 1-1, and that they could not afford to lose their top players.

"He is the player that has know-how in the Premier League, that has vast experience, a national team player, a great professional and played last week against Burnley," Bilic told a news conference.

"I wanted him to stay. He wanted to stay this week. It was a shock that he left. Obviously the club wanted to sell him."

Hegazi played 104 games for West Brom and started 14 matches last season as they won promotion from the Championship.

West Brom are 17th on three points from their first six matches.

(Reporting by Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)

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