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Transfer Rater: Blind to Barca, Willian to United?

Ahmed Hegazi's agent says the defender is happy at West Bromwich Albion after Alan Pardew confirmed the club are in talks to make his loan move permanent.

West Brom boss Pardew revealed on Friday that the club are ready to make Hegazi's loan from Egyptian side Al Ahly permanent after impressing since his arrival at the Hawthorns.

The Egyptian international centre-back is on a season-long loan from Al Ahly, and included in the deal is an option to buy him for £4.5 million, which West Brom are ready to activate when the transfer window reopens next month

Pardew has been impressed by Hegazi since taking over from Tony Pulis at West Brom and he hopes the club can secure his signature on a permanent basis.

"We're pretty much down the road on that one," said Pardew. "I can't confirm anything but if we can then we'll do that.

"He's been brilliant for me. I've only been here for three games but he's been terrific.

"He has fantastic attributes as a centre-half and I think he's learning."

Hegazi put in a man-of-the-match performance in the goalless draw at Liverpool in midweek and the centre-back's displays for West Brom in the first half of the season have caught the attention of other Premier League clubs who are hoping to steal him from under the noses of the Baggies.

Hegazi's representative, Christian Emile, has confirmed the defender is enjoying life at West Brom amid the reported interest from elsewhere and hailed West Brom for taking the opportunity of signing Hegazi on loan in the first place.

"Ahmed has been the bargain of the season and full credit must go to West Brom and their scouting staff," Emile told ESPN FC. "Naturally there will be speculation following his excellent performances but the player is happy where he is.

"There is a saying: 'Those who don't take risk, don't drink the champagne,' well West Brom ventured into a new market and are now drinking from the best bottle!"

Peter O'Rourke is ESPN FC's transfer news correspondent. Follow him on Twitter @SportsPeteO.

Newcastle boss Rafael Benitez has been given the go-ahead to identify January transfer targets despite the ongoing uncertainty over the club's ownership.

The Spaniard met managing director Lee Charnley this week to discuss what he may or may not be able to do to strengthen his squad during the winter window after a demoralising run of eight Premier League games which has yielded just a single point.

Benitez is still to be told what funds will be available and whether or not Mike Ashley remains in charge with Amanda Staveley's PCP Capital Partners still engaged in negotiations to buy the club, but he is keeping his fingers crossed that he will be able to recruit.

He said: "I had yesterday a conversation with Lee. We were talking about what we want to do and the players maybe we want to bring in and others to go out. We've already started this discussion and we'll see if we can progress in a few days.

"It was just to talk about ideas. After, we might say, 'We'd like to sign this player' and you're quoted £40 million and it makes it unrealistic. We've had this conversation and we have to move forward quickly.''

Asked if he had been given an indication of a budget, Benitez replied: "I don't know the details, but at least we were talking about that.

"If you're saying is everything fine and I'm happy, I don't know. We have to progress and it's so obvious that we can improve things.''

In the meantime, the Magpies will attempt to end their near-two-month wait for a league victory at Arsenal, where the manager knows the odds will be stacked against them.

He will be without the suspended Jonjo Shelvey and the injured Aleksandar Mitrovic, but full-back Paul Dummett is available for the first time since damaging a hamstring on the opening day of the season.

Benitez said: "For us, every game is a challenge and a chance to get three points. This is a hard game on paper, but we did well against Manchester United for 30 minutes and against Chelsea for 15 minutes.

"If you have a couple of chances and score a goal or two, maybe the other side has anxiety and makes mistakes. The main thing is to keep us competitive, and we have to carry on with this message.''

Crystal Palace are targeting Monaco's Guido Carrillo to solve their striker shortage.

Roy Hodgson hopes to recruit a new goalkeeper, central midfielder and goalscorer in January, with the latter a particular priority as Christian Benteke -- who has not scored since May -- is their only senior, recognised striker.

An injury to the Belgian earlier this season led to Hodgson starting wingers Wilfried Zaha and Andros Townsend in an unorthodox front two, and while the 27-year-old is again fit, he is struggling to score.

Sources tell Press Association Sports an approach has already been made for the £10 million-rated Carrillo, 26, who has impressed for Ligue 1 champions Monaco following Kylian Mbappe's departure to Paris St Germain.

Following a challenging start to the season the Argentinian has scored five goals in Monaco's past nine games, and is considered the solution Palace require at a time when a further winger, Bakary Sako, is also being used as a striker.

Hodgson has remained supportive of Benteke, while also warning him Palace "cannot afford to carry anyone,'' and discussing his hopes for January, said: "We have only got one recognised centre-forward in Chrstian Benteke. Bakary Sako was signed as a winger.

"We have only got two goalkeepers in the club, which I don't think is anywhere near enough for Premier League football. We saw what happened when Wayne Hennessey had a back spasm the other day at West Brom.

"In central midfield we don't have enough cover, and with Luka Milivojevic out we find ourselves shorter there.

"Those are the positions we would like to strengthen and cover.''

Palace visit Leicester in the Premier League on Saturday, when Benteke is again expected to retain his place despite Bako scoring as a substitute in Tuesday's 2-1 defeat of Watford.