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Ali Al-Habsi signs for Royals

14 July 2015

Vastly experienced goalkeeper pens two-year deal

Reading Football Club are delighted to announce that goalkeeper Ali Al-Habsi has this afternoon put pen to paper on a two-year contract with the Royals.

The experienced stopper travelled as part of Steve Clarke’s squad on a pre-season tour to Thailand last week, playing the first half in a 2-2 draw with a Thailand All Stars side whilst impressing in training out in the Far East.

And, less than 48 hours after landing back in the country, the club have acted fast to tie the 33-year-old to a permanent deal this afternoon, keeping the former Bolton Wanderers and Wigan Athletic keeper at Madejski Stadium until the summer of 2017.

Royals manager Steve Clarke said, “Ali is exactly the type of experienced goalkeeper that we need at this time and I'm delighted that he has chosen to join us.

“Ali has good knowledge of the English game both in the Championship and the Premier League. He is a great shot stopper and has already impressed everyone with his abilities in the shooting sessions during training.

“Alongside Jonathan Bond and Stuart Moore, Ali brings the goalkeeping department to a very good level and the competition for places should ensure a really high standard.”

Born in a village on the outskirts of Muscat, Al Habsi began his career with hometown club Al Midhaibi before making the step up with Al Nasr and winning the Sultan Qaboos Cup.

The 6’4” stopper was spotted by former goalkeeper John Burridge, who was working as a coach with the Oman national team and European football beckoned with Norwegian First Division side Lyn Oslo.

After three successful years in Norway, he signed for Bolton Wanderers in January 2006, playing Premier League and UEFA Cup football at the Reebok before making the permanent switch to Wigan Athletic in 2011 - after a successful loan season as the Latics’ number one and Player of the Year the previous season.

Now, with more than 100 Premier League appearances to his name and in excess of 100 international caps as an Omani national hero, the vastly experienced Al-Habsi will challenge fellow new signing Jonathan Bond for the gloves at Reading this season.

Chief Executive Nigel Howe commented, “Having been out to Oman myself in recent years, I saw first hand how high a regard Ali is held in out there – and with a wealth of experience at the very highest level back in England, I am certain he will be an extremely valuable addition to a squad which is now really starting to take shape.”

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