Anwar El Ghazi – Fantasy Football Potential

Anwar El Ghazi has made his move to Villa Park permanent, after a successful loan spell at the club last season, which saw the Villains finally return to the Premier League through the play offs. El Ghazi was pivotal in Villa’s play off final win, scoring the first goal of the game and all but setting up the second to see Dean Smith’s side over the line.

The Dutchman seemed to flourish under Smith in the second half of the season with the former Brentford manager replacing Steve Bruce mid way through the campaign. Smith on the move has said:

“Anwar proved to everybody at Wembley how good a player he can be for Aston Villa. He’s ready for the step up to the Premier League and he’s a young player who has an awful lot of potential. It’s now my job and the job of the coaching staff and Anwar himself to fulfil the potential that he undoubtedly has.”

Player History

El Ghazi’s senior career took off in 2014 when he broke through Ajax’s illustrious academy which has produced many a brilliant Dutchman in the past. He scored 20 times in the Eredivisie in 70 matches which ultimately earned him a move to French side Lille in 2017.

Before his €8 million move to France, El Ghazi gained two international caps for the Netherlands despite having a dual citizenship with Morocco. He made his decision after a conversation with none other than Cristiano Ronaldo who he idolised growing up and met during their summer break. Ronaldo convinced Anwar to opt for the Dutch saying he’d have a better chance competing in the biggest international tournaments.

After playing in their final two Euro 2016 Qualifiers against Kazakhstan and Czech Republic, Holland were unsuccessful in qualifying for the tournament in France, finishing fourth in their group. However there was still the 2018 World Cup to look forward to, right?

Wrong. Holland once again failed to qualify for the tournament with Sweden taking their place in the biggest tournament in world football. Ironically, Morocco would be making the trip to Russia after getting through the Asian qualifiers. They didn’t go any further though, matching up against Spain and Ronaldo’s Portugal in the group stages.

After his move to Lille in 2017 he must have thought he’d make his way back in the Holland squad, failing to make any more appearances in an orange shirt since the two qualifiers in 2015. However, with injuries and a lack of form, El Ghazi scored just five time across two seasons in Ligue 1, which ultimately lead to his loan move to Aston Villa last season.

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He beat his Ligue 1 tally in just one season in the Championship scoring 6 times and setting up 6 further goals. He won his way into the Villa fans’ hearts with two goals away at rivals West Brom and were only denied a win through a late controversial goal from Jay Rodriguez who had the help of his hand to notch the equaliser.

The winger is still only 24 years old meaning he can still live up to the hype that got him Ajax’s talent of the year in 2015. His ability to go both ways and beat the defender will cause all full backs distress this season and he will certainly be a key player in their survival hopes.

Fantasy Football Potential

With Villa being a recently promoted team, some FPL managers will be hesitant to select any players from the three teams but it has been proved in past seasons that this could hinder rather than help your overall rank. The likes of Raul Jimenez, Matt Doherty and Diogo Jota were in everybody’s team at one point last season and I can see El Ghazi being a very decent pick.

Barring a move to a bigger club, El Ghazi will have Jack Grealish feeding him next season so high quality balls into and in around the box will be on the cards in this Villa side. On a negative note, top scorer Tammy Abraham has returned to parent club Chelsea ahead of the new season and is unlikely to return due to Chelsea’s transfer ban.

El Ghazi has been priced at £5.5m which is considerably cheaper than the likes of Ryan Sessegnon and Diogo Jota were last season. He didn’t have the goalscoring prowess of the above mentioned last season, but does have the potential to be a very dangerous player in the Premier League. Last season he played on the left side of a 4-3-3 meaning his defensive responsibilities were next to none so he’ll definitely be in and around the Villa attacks next season.

A tough start at Spurs awaits El Ghazi and Aston Villa but their fixtures seem to ease up until late September when they visit the opposite side of North London at the Emirates. In the spell between their two trips to London, El Ghazi could become a nice differential with his still being an unknown entity in England’s top flight. Will you take a chance on the Dutchman?

Written by Harry Clark (@HarryClark_)

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