Aston Villa have announced the permanent signing of winger Anwar El Ghazi from Ligue 1 club Lille.
The 24-year-old spent the 2018/19 season on a loan at Villa Park and played an instrumental role as Dean Smith’s side sealed promotion to the Premier League.
Who is Anwar El Ghazi? Five things to know…
- Age: 24
- Position: Winger
- Senior career path: Ajax (2014-17) > Lille (2017-19) > Aston Villa (loan, 2018-19)
- Key stat: No Villa player averaged more accurate crosses per 90 minutes in the Championship last season (1.1).
- Did you know? El Ghazi made his debut in the same game as Virgil van Dijk (v Kazakhstan, 10/10/15).
The Villans beat Frank Lampard’s Derby County 2-1 in the Play-off Final at Wembley last month, with El Ghazi breaking the deadlock.
His temporary stint in the Midlands proved highly successful and the club have now triggered an option written into his contract to make his stay a permanent one.
The Dutchman has put pen to paper on a four-year deal, and manager Smith spoke of his delight that the Ajax academy graduate will be able to showcase his worth in the Premier League next campaign.
He’s back! ?
— Aston Villa (@AVFCOfficial) June 10, 2019
Smith told the club’s official website: “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.
“He’ll be a great addition to the squad for next season.”
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Second summer signing
Aston Villa have wasted no time in bolstering their ranks for their return to the Premier League, with El Ghazi becoming the club’s second summer signing already.
Last week Villa completed a deal for attacker Jota from eternal rivals Birmingham City, reuniting the Spaniard with Smith, whom he worked alongside during his stint with Brentford.
The 27-year-old proved a key player for Birmingham at St Andrew’s, and the deal saw Gary Gardner move the other way for an undisclosed fee.