Ali Al Habsi was a penalty shootout away from returning to the Premier League this summer with Reading. Suffering heartbreak at Wembley as Huddersfield Town celebrated a return to the top flight after 45 years away, it looked as if the veteran ‘keeper would be condemned to a fifth straight season of Championship football.
However, according to the Daily Mail, Al Habsi may be handed the chance to make a first return to the top flight since being relegated with Wigan Athletic in 2013, a matter of days after their defeated Manchester City in the FA Cup final.
Ali Al Habsi remains as impressive as ever at the age of 35
The report claims that the Oman international has been identified by West Brom manager Tony Pulis as a potential back-up option for first-choice shot-stopper Ben Foster next season.
The 35-year-old, who earned Reading’s Player of the Season award despite The Royals conceding more goals than any other side in the Championship top six, only signed a new contract in January, tying him to the club until 2019.
However, with Reading unable to offer Premier League football, you could understand if Al Habsi would wish to renege on his agreement and take up West Brom’s offer.
Whether the move would prove to be worthwhile, however, is another matter. Al Habsi has guaranteed first-team football under Jaap Stam at the Madejski but that would be far from secure at West Brom.
Foster started each of The Baggies’ Premier League games last season, meaning second choice Boaz Myhill did not make a single appearance.
Ben Foster remains Tony Pulis' go-to goalie
Therefore, Al Habsi has a tough choice to make; remain number one in the Championship or risk spending a season on the bench in the Premier League.
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