Anwar El Ghazi has today made the switch to Aston Villa Football Club a permanent one in a deal thought to be in the region of £8m.
The winger – who has two international caps for the Netherlands – made 36 appearances for the club last season and scored a couple of memorable goals in the process. That rocket of a strike at West Brom in early December certainly stands out and, it goes without saying, as does the opener at Wembley in the play-off final.
Having only just turned 24 years of age El Ghazi might still have his best years ahead of him. He’s undoubtedly got pedigree; in 2014 he netted at the Nou Camp for Ajax in the Champions League and in 2015 he featured in OutsideOfTheBoot.com’s ‘100 Best Young Players to Watch’ list (#26 on that list in case you were wondering).
When he joined Lille in January 2017 they thought that they had picked up one of Europe’s rising stars for a very modest sum of €8m but it never really worked out for him in France. In August last year French Football Weekly’s Jeremy Smith – in an article with the Express & Star described El Ghazi’s attitude as his ‘main weakness’ before continuing, ‘When he wants to he can be a match-winner, but he too often disappears from matches, going hiding at times when he is needed the most. He is not too keen on doing his share of defensive support either.’
El Ghazi in action for Lille
There is little doubting El Ghazi’s natural ability. He has the physique of a baller and some, including Dan Morgan on one of our recent podcasts, have likened him to the great Cristiano Ronaldo in terms of the way in which he carries himself. We’ve seen glimpses of brilliance but – as per the comments above – there have been some matches in which he’s gone missing.
Anwar El Ghazi has already written his name in Villa folklore with that goal under the Arch but that doesn’t mean he can afford to become complacent. He’s shown he can do it on the biggest European stage before and so now he’s earned himself a place in the biggest league competition in world football his aim ought to be to show people what he’s got in that locker of his and why all the football nerds were raving about him just four years ago. This is now a perfect chance for him to shine.
To celebrate the capture of Anwar El Ghazi Heart of the Holte’s musical genius Daniel Horton has written and performed a splendid rendition of ‘Ain’t Nobody, like El Ghazi.’ Go and check that out below and whilst you’re there please subscribe to the channel.
UP THE VILLA!
Written by Ryan Pitcher