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El-Gabas introduces himself to Swindon Town

Photo: Mamdouh Eid Twitter

Photo: Mamdouh Eid Twitter

completed a surprise move to earlier this week, KingFut’s Adam Gray examines how the Egypt international will fit in at the County Ground.

Swindon Town capped a flawless afternoon on Saturday by unveiling the signing of Mohamed El-Gabas after the player had watched the club put Crewe to the sword by 5-0 in the fixture. The 25-year-old forward has been signed on a deal until January 1st 2014 with the option of a further 18 months in order to further bolster an attack-line that seemed to have no issue in brushing aside Crewe. “Today was a very good performance from the guys. I must have good luck that I come here and they win 5-0! It’s an important win for sure,” the Egyptian approved.

El-Gabas becomes the 15th signing of the summer at the County Ground as a new-look Swindon make a satisfactory start to the season under new manager Mark Cooper, sitting a solid tenth in the table after 2 wins from their opening 5 games. As witnessed first hand by the Egyptian on Saturday, their attacking line seems to be having no problems scoring goals and he will join Nicky Ajose, Miles Story, Dany N’Guessan and Nile Ranger as they attempt to fire the Robins back to the Championship after 13 years in the bottom two tiers. “They’re trying to get to the Championship – this is a good ambition and I hope I can help them,” El-Gabas told Swindon’s official web-site.

The 25-year-old El-Gabas, also known as “Dodo”, joins after four year in Belgium with Lierse S.K in which he helped them gain promotion to the Belgian Pro League in 2010. Despite never being a prolific scorer, he managed just 25 goals in 92 appearances for Lierse, he remained among the club’s first choice strikers alongside Wesley Sonck and Soufiane Bidaoui. His departure from Lierse over the summer marked a successful four-year spell at the club and he puts his non-prolific goal rate down to a style of play suited to a withdrawn striker, “I’m not a big target striker like Zlatan Ibrahimovic for example. I’m more like Thierry Henry or David Villa who can run in the space and try to make it hard for defenders by running in the space. I can also play as a winger on both sides.”

It will be a signing aimed to fit in with Cooper’s cohesive 4-3-3 system at Swindon which is based around Nile Ranger’s station in the centre of the front 3 and takes advantage of the pace and technical ability of Alex Pritchard, Yaser Kasim, Connor Waldon, Ryan Mason, who hit a hat-trick against Crewe, and Grant Hall. Cooper has quickly set his stall out with a desire to play expansive football at his new club and he is forming a versatile, fluid forward line with each player adapt enough to move into a variety of positions. El-Gabas, able to play right across the front three, is likely to fit in perfectly at the County Ground.

It will not be El-Gabas’s first time in England after he was noticed by Newcastle’s academy when he was in the youth ranks at Egyptian club Al-Masry. After playing a year in Newcastle’s youth team alongside the likes of Roy Carroll and Andy Carroll, the Magpies wanted to offer El-Gabas a professional deal, but were blocked by an inability to secure a work-permit for the striker. He then had to return to Al-Masry and after a successful first year as a professional, in which he hit 9 goals in 24 games and earned a first cap for the Egypt senior squad, he made his move to Europe with Lierse.

Held on the periphery of the Egypt squad since his 2009 breakthrough and with the last of his 6 caps coming in a game against Central African Republic over a year ago, El-Gabas has seen fit to leave the Yellow and Blacks in order to play his way back into the plans of manager Bob Bradley. After impressing on trail with Greek side Panionios, it seemed like he was on the verge of joining the Athens club, only to renege on that and join the revolution in place at Swindon in the third tier of English football.

After signing the short-term deal following the demolition of Crewe, El-Gabas spoke highly of his new club and the surrounding area, saying “it’s a nice town, it’s a family club where everybody knows each other”. He will settle into life in England and I will be following his progress for El-Gabas and Swindon were all smiles on Saturday evening, the Egyptian forward will be hoping the relationship stays that way.

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