The Chalkboard: El Ghazi has improvements to make to be Aston Villa’s star next season

The loan signing of Anwar El Ghazi last term was a superb piece of business from Aston Villa. To now sign him again, but on a permanent transfer, is an even greater deal.

Last season the Dutchman was one of the stars for Villa as he scored in the play-off final and played a vital hand in their promotion.

Once of Ajax, a side he scored 11 goals for in the Eredivisie in 2015/16, El Ghazi has rather dropped off the pace since.

Blessed with fantastic technical ability, he even scored in the Nou Camp against Barcelona in the Champions League.

But almost five years on from that impressive night in Catalonia, he has significant improvements to make.

On the chalkboard

In short, El Ghazi still has a long way to go if he’s to avoid becoming a flop in the Premier League.

The Dutchman has always had a tremendous amount of potential but after his development was set back, a loan spell with the Midlands club is what seems to have revitalised his career.

But despite that newfound confidence, it doesn’t stop him from being an incredibly frustrating player.

Throughout 2018/19 he was an enigmatic figure for large parts of the campaign, lacking any sign of consistency.

His form towards the latter stages improved but in regards to his end product, a big improvement will be needed.

Last term he managed six goals and six assists which is a handy return. However, just 1.3 key passes and 1.1 crosses per game suggests he still has work to do.

El Ghazi is capable of being a star in the Premier League but he could find himself ending up like Anthony Knockaert and Helder Costa unless he improves his creativity.

They’re two prime examples of similar players to have flourished in the Championship but failed at a higher level.

A tricky winger, El Ghazi also has some way to go in terms of controlling possession. Last season he averaged 2.3 unsuccessful touches per outing.

That’s an indication of his willingness to get at a man but if he’s not actually in control, he’s not going to create opportunities.

Therefore, if he can combine these two key areas together he can be a handful for Premier League defences.

His 20 goals across two league campaigns in the Netherlands more than proves he has what it takes.