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Anwar El Ghazi: Aston Villa must sell Dean Smith outcast

Johan Lange must bite the bullet and look to sell Aston Villa forward Anwar El Ghazi in January after he has rarely featured under Dean Smith this season.

What’s the word?

According to Birmingham Live, El Ghazi could look to seek assurances over his Villa Park future ahead of the mid-season window with the Dutchman clocking up just 34-minutes of Premier League football thus far this term.

El Ghazi is yet to start a top-flight fixture and failed to offer a great impact in the Birmingham-based outfit’s Carabao Cup efforts, either, with just one assist to his name coming against Championship side Bristol City in September.

Should Villa sell El Ghazi in January?

Yes, he's not good enough

Yes, he's not good enough

No, give him more time

No, give him more time

The 25-year-old has previously been a favourite of Smith with appearances in 34 matches following the Villans’ promotion to the Premier League, but has found game time harder to secure after the summer arrival of Bertrand Traore and form of Trezeguet.

Smith has also promoted Under 23s talent Jaden Philogene-Bidace to train with the first-team, while Villa have high-hopes for Louie Barry to make the grade in the not-too-distant future.

Time to bite the bullet

All things considered, Lange must bite the bullet and, alongside Smith, inform El Ghazi that his days as an Aston Villa regular are in the past and that the £40,000-per-week forward should look to find a new club in January.

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Smith has shown this season that he is comfortable with not fielding El Ghazi regularly in the Premier League, with the Villans boss even omitting the 2019 permanent arrival from his matchday plans in three squads to date.

El Ghazi has struggled to offer an effective outlet in attack, as well, with the £7.2million-rated flop rarely involved once on the field in the 2-1 home defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion last month and taking just 12 touches at West Ham United on Monday night.

He completed just five passes at the London Stadium as the Villans strove to find an equalising goal, while offering zero shots, tackles, interceptions, key balls and one cross, per WhoScored.

Smith has not had difficulties seeing an offensive threat from his other forward options this season, with Trezeguet offering 15 shots – only Ollie Watkins has more (19) – Douglas Luiz boasting more successful dribbles (5 to 2), Matt Target providing more key balls (10 to 1) and Ross Barkley delivering a higher number of accurate crosses (9 to 1), per SofaScore, than El Ghazi.

If Lange can agree a suitable fee for the £8m signing, expect to see El Ghazi moved on in the winter.

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