Reading Football Club can confirm that goalkeeper Ali Al Habsi has agreed to a transfer to reigning Saudi Arabian top flight champions Al-Hilal for an undisclosed fee.
Al-Hilal triggered a release clause in Al Habsi’s contract allowing the stopper to talk to the Riyadh-based side, and the goalkeeper – who turns 36 later this year – has opted to sign a contract at the King Fahd International Stadium.
As remains the case with all our club’s transfer activity, no official confirmation is ever issued publicly until all the relevant paperwork has been signed and ratified by all parties – and for a number of days this transfer remained subject to the receipt of a signed transfer agreement from Al-Hilal. However, this paperwork finally reached Reading Football Club within the last hour.
Al Habsi returns to the Middle East for the first time since 2003, when he left his native Oman for a successful career in Europe that began at Norwegian side Lyn Oslo and soon led to a move to the Premier League with Bolton Wanderers and then Wigan Athletic.
He joined the Royals on a free transfer in 2015 and made 91 appearances between the posts - winning our Player of the Season vote in successive seasons. And, after 11 years of football in the UK, Al Habsi will now complete his move to Saudi Arabia to be much closer to his young family living out in Oman.
An admirable ambassador for the club and the sport itself out in Asia, everyone at Reading Football Club would like to wish Ali the very best of luck with Al-Hilal and in his future career.