CAIRO: Ahly have postponed contract talks with midfield duo Ahmed Fathi and Hossam Ashour until after the CAF Champions League, the club’s football director said on Wednesday.
The contracts of versatile midfielder Fathi and defensive midfielder Ashour run out at the end of the season but Ahly do not intend to offer them new deals until they finish their African commitments.
"We don’t want to distract them during our Champions League campaign," Hadi Khashaba told FilGoal.com.
"We are not worried over the prospect of losing them because we have already agreed to prolong their stay.
"However, we will not hold further talks with them to let them focus on the Champions League task."
Fathi and Ashour are key members of the starting line-up of Ahly, who reached the Champions League semis with one game to spare in Group B after defeating Nigeria’s Heartland 2-1 on Sunday.
Ashour, who is praised for his ability to steal the ball from opposition, managed to retain his regular place in the heart of the team’s midfield despite the close-season arrival of Mohamed Shawky and Hossam Ghaly.
Fathi is a natural midfielder but he also operates as a right-back in Ahly’s 4-4-2 formation.
The former Sheffield United man was linked with a move to an unnamed English Premier League club, with reports suggesting that West Ham United are preparing to bid for him.
Six-time winners Ahly will face either Tunisia’s Esperance or holders Mazembe of DR Congo in the Champions League semis.