After four wins and three defeats in his first seven Premier League games as Aston Villa manager, the upcoming January transfer window will give Steven Gerrard the opportunity to make any changes to the current squad at Villa Park that he may deem necessary.
With the window just a few days away from opening, one current Villa player has been mentioned with a potential move away from the club.
Speaking on Dutch TV (via Birmingham Mail) after the 3-1 defeat against Chelsea on Boxing Day, former Ajax midfielder and FC Twente manager Jan van Halst had his say on Anwar El Ghazi and his immediate future.
He said: “Do I not get the feeling that El Ghazi wants to leave? You would think so, yes. He played for the Dutch national team during a good period last season.
“Then we were all surprised that he was not in the squad (for the Euros). Now he threatens to throw a whole period of his career away. Maybe another competition is best for him. He’s such a technical player who actually belongs in a more technical competition. Spain or Italy maybe?”
Villa originally signed El Ghazi on a loan deal from Lille back in the summer of 2018 before securing him on a permanent basis a year later.
Overall, the 26-year-old – who is currently picking up £38k-per-week according to Salary Sport, has made a total of 118 appearances for the Villans across all competitions, scoring 26 goals and providing 16 assists along the way.
This season has seen El Ghazi make nine Premier League appearances for Villa, scoring one goal and providing one assist in the process, but only three of those games have come under Gerrard since his first match at the club in their 2-0 win over Brighton, with the winger coming off the bench each time under the incumbent manager.
With his lack of starts under Gerrard in mind, it’s easy to see why El Ghazi has been tipped with a move away from Villa if he’s hoping for regular game-time.
Labelled a “nightmare” to come up against in training by former Villa defender Alan Hutton, El Ghazi has failed to show much of that on the pitch this season by racking up an overall performance rating of 6.33/10, making him one of Villa’s lowest-rated players in the current campaign according to WhoScored.
Taking this into account, it’s safe to say that a lot of Villa fans could be happy to see the Dutchman leave in January if the club receives a decent offer for him and are able to bring in a quality replacement at the same time.