Former (maybe future?) Netherlands international Anwar El Ghazi became Aston Villa’s third loan signing in the summer window, and fifth overall.
In need of more options in the attack, Steve Bruce & Co. pulled-off a real coup in the loan market with the season-long loan signing of Lille’s Anwar El Ghazi. El Ghazi, 23, becomes Villa’s fifth signing in this window.
He’s not alone, either. Everton’s Yannick Bolasie was pictured at Villa Park in the club’s 2-2 draw with Brentford. He’s due to be announced on Thursday.
El Ghazi bloomed early as a footballer, scoring 20 Eredivisie goals with Ajax in 58 appearances from the 2014-2016 seasons. His talent and two-footed ability from the wing earned him a call-up to the Oranje in 2015.
Since? it’s been an indifferent two years for El Ghazi, where he’s spent the last 18 months with Lille in France. Last season, he scored four goals with four assists in 26 Ligue 1 appearances (18 starts).
El Ghazi looks to prove himself in England. With Aston Villa, he going to earn that chance with a real promotion contender. The loan has an option-to-buy, reportedly valued around £8 million. The most immediate impact will most likely occur at right wing, where El Ghazi figures to start, at least until Bolasie enters the equation.
The two players allow Ahmed Elmohamady to shift to right fullback, while Axel Tuanzebe either moves to the bench, or replaces Mile Jedinak at centre-back. Albert Adomah and André Green figure to rotate at left wing. Bruce has been hesitant to use Adomah on the right after a 15-goal season last year where he predominantly shifted inside from the left.
El Ghazi’s arrival is another piece of evidence that Villa’s new owners are committed to transfers that offer low-risk (loans, with options-to-buy) and high upside (experienced young players). El Ghazi’s ceiling is world beater and Holland starter. He might never reach his previous Ajax years, but even if he doesn’t, he might be an upgrade for Villa as is, anyway.
All that for a loan fee.