The Birmingham Mail‘s Ashley Preece has revealed that Anwar El Ghazi’s long-term future at Aston Villa is uncertain, and even raised the possibility of the club looking to move him on.
What’s the story?
Reports in recent days have suggested that Serie A giants AS Roma have made an approach to sign the winger, with Dean Smith now willing to let him go as he looks to try and revamp his attack ahead of the new Premier League season.
When asked about those reports linking the Dutchman with an exit from Villa Park, Preece replied: “He’s got less than two years left on his deal and there’s been no talk whatsoever about Villa wanting to extend it which tells you everything.
Would you sell El Ghazi?
“It’s a big season for AEG who *could* be sold for a small profit. I am, though, expecting him to stay knowing Trezeguet’s out long term. AEG scored 10 last season; his Villa career is in the balance going into this one…”
Villa fans will be worried
While consistency is something which has affected El Ghazi badly in his time at Villa Park – last season score the bulk of his 10 Premier League goals in just two purple patches over the course of the campaign – there’s no questioning that he’s got the talent.
Speaking after his goal against Crystal Palace earlier this year, former Premier League midfielder Michael Brown said: “Dean Smith told me his training in how he executes those finishes is there for all to see. Craig Shakespeare then backed him straight up when I ran into him later, he just said ‘what a technician he is.’
“He’s practising in training, he has a bad week against Burnley: eight shots, great chances, can’t put one away. Then he scores against West Brom, then goes and puts one in the top bins like he did last night… Magnificent is the word we’re all looking for.”
The Dutchman was the club’s second highest scorer last season, behind only Ollie Watkins, while his underlying stats make for impressive reading.
As per WhoScored, he ranked second in the entire squad for shots per game, second in crosses, and in the top six for dribbles per match in the Premier League – that’s a real testament to how he’s always tried to make things happen whenever he’s been afforded the chance to play.
Potentially letting El Ghazi go, without first signing a top-quality replacement, would be bad business and could worry fans over the strength in depth in those wide positions.
At just 25, the Dutchman still has the peak years of his career ahead of him, and the fact he was only outscored by Watkins last season despite not always being a regular starter shows that he does have the ability to be a good player for Villa.
Preece’s latest update may worry fans.
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