Anwar El Ghazi is perhaps the best player to come out of the famous Ajax academy in a number of years and he has stepped into Memphis Depay’s shoes as the leading player in the Eredivisie. It has not been surprising to see the Dutchman take the next step in his career after a good first full season in the first team. He has emerged as the most important player for Ajax as they lead the table after twelve matches, as Ajax attempt to reclaim the championship at the first attempt writes Jake Jackman.
He has operated on the right of the attack in the majority of matches this season and he has looked threatening in almost every game. The attacker has eight goals in the league to date, with the majority coming at the beginning of the season. Recently, he has not threatened the scorers, but he has still looked dangerous in the final third and his influence on matches has still been huge. The main disappointment for El Ghazi has been his inability to transfer his league form to the Europa League and that will cause interested clubs to have doubts about his ability to perform outside of the Eredivisie.
The Ajax attacker is only 20-years-old and it is obvious to everybody who watches him that he has a big future in the game. He is most dangerous when he is running with the ball as he has the ability to beat players and get into dangerous positions. This season, he has been good at crossing the ball and cutting in to shoot, which makes him unpredictable in the final third. Moreover, he is good in the air, which is unusual for a winger, but it gives him an extra element to his game. His main weakness is his lack of defensive contributions, which will become more of a worry if he leaves the Eredivisie. He can afford to not track back at Ajax, but in bigger leagues that will be a huge problem as Memphis Depay is finding out at Old Trafford.
He has been linked with Manchester United and Newcastle United in recent weeks, with both having Dutch connections. Depay has struggled to settle in at Manchester United and that may cause El Ghazi to have doubts about joining Louis van Gaal’s side. They do need more wingers in their squad though, which is why they will be looking at the Dutch international. It is still early in El Ghazi’s career and he may opt to join a smaller club originally, which is why the Newcastle link is interesting. They have been poor in the last twelve months, but they have a large Dutch contingent in their squad and Georginio Wijnaldum has shown how joining Newcastle may have been the correct move in the long run with his excellent start at St James’ Park. It’s clear that Wijnaldum has settled in better at his new club than Depay and that could have an effect on the way players in Holland view their first move away from the Eredivisie.
There is no doubt that El Ghazi will have a lot of interest in him, especially after his start this season. He is a dynamic attacking player, who is capable of scoring goals and he has the potential to get much better. It’s important that he doesn’t rush a move as Ajax are a huge club and he still has a lot of time to grow in the Eredivisie. Many thought Depay had outgrown the league, but that isn’t the case for El Ghazi yet. The best decision may be for him to stay at the club for at least another twelve months, but it’s difficult for clubs to resist the money that Premier League clubs have in their pockets.
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