Zaki form gives Bruce regrets

Wigan manager Steve Bruce has admitted that he may have made a major blunder by failing to sign Egypt striker Amr Zaki on a permanent basis when he was available for a bargain 7.25 million pounds.

Zaki, 25, has taken the English Premier League by storm by banging in seven goals since his loan move from Egyptian giants Zamalek and his success has fuelled speculation that a club of Wigan's size will be unable to hang on to him.

Although Zamalek had quoted a relatively low price for Zaki, Bruce admitted he felt that a permanent deal would have been risky. But he insists Wigan will be ready to meet what will inevitably be an inflated transfer fee now that they have seen how good the player is.

"He's on loan with us until June and over the next few weeks, or however long it takes, we will try and open negotiations with Zamalek and do everything in our power to try and make sure he stays here," Bruce said.

"Zamalek were hoping, and that's why they took the deal, that he would do well. Obviously, the better he does, the bigger the fee. He's our player, so we're in the driving seat.

"We haven't got first refusal on anything. But we have got to see if we can agree a transfer fee with Zamalek," the coach went on.

"Of course, with hindsight, it would have been nice for him to have been ours. But we have still got a chance - that is the most important thing - and we will do our utmost."