Ali exit confirmed, as Royals look to step up keeper search
It has been in the pipeline for a couple of weeks now, but Ali Al-Habsi's exit from Reading has finally been confirmed.
The talk as of late has been when Ali is going to be off, and he has confirmed his arrival at Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal on a three-year deal, despite Reading not releasing any conformation yet. It was all finalised last night, as the Omani ended a two-year tenure in Berkshire.
Ali only signed a new deal over six months ago, but had a clause in his contract that he could return closer to his homeland if the opportunity arose. The fee is minimal, believed to be just over £500k, which is an absolute steal when you consider the money they have.
More importantly for us though, it means Stam has to step up his goalkeeper search, with Anssi Jaakkola the only experienced keeper in the squad. We have already had knockbacks with Karl Darlow and Eldin Jakupović, with David Button most recently mentioned in the rumour mill.
We wish the very best of luck to Ali, and with family being the main reason for his move, you can't blame him. I'm still not sure if Jaakkola is ready to make the step up yet, so I hope we have some positive news on the goalkeeper front soon.