Aston Villa boss Dean Smith believes Anwar El Ghazi has ‘reached his ceiling’ and is behind the club’s willingness to sanction a January exit – should a suitable offer be made, per a report.
El Ghazi has rarely featured for Villa this season, making just five appearances this season so far. Two of those came in the Carabao Cup, against Barrow and Chelsea.
The Dutchman has enjoyed a decent career in the Midlands and bagged 10 Premier League goals last season. Furthermore, he scored one of the goals to bring Villa back to the Premier League; in the 2-1 Playoff Final victory against Derby County in 2019.
Though it seems Dean Smith now prefers players that have recently joined the club. Furthermore, the wide forward positions that El Ghazi frequents are unused in the current 3-5-2 system.
When Leon Bailey returns to the side, he will likely be ahead of El Ghazi in the pecking order. Certainly, summer signing Danny Ings is, as he is accommodated up front alongside Ollie Watkins in the current regime.
Roma were reportedly looking to complete a deal for El Ghazi in the summer, but the sides could not come to an agreement. It seems the Italian side are interested once again, according to Football Insider.
If Villa’s £18million valuation is met in January, the report claims they will ‘cash in’. Mourinho’s Roma are once again in the frame, with a source cited that claims the Serie A outfit will ‘pursue’ a deal in the winter window.
The winger has been an unused substitute in the last five Premier League games. As such, Villa would seemingly not miss him were he to be offloaded.
A transfer for El Ghazi could also leave space for some youngsters to shine in the first team.
Jaden Philogene-Bidace, Carney Chukwuemeka and Cameron Archer have all gained first team minutes this season. They may be afforded more opportunities with one less player in the squad.
Villa keen on Scottish star
With one player possibly moving to Italy, it seems the club are keen to bring one star the other way.
Scottish left-back Aaron Hickey – currently of Bologna – has caught the eye of a number of Premier League clubs, Villa included.
Though it seems Hickey wants to remain in Italy for a while longer, despite interest from Villa and Celtic, namely.
As such, Villa will remain with Matt Targett as their starting left-back for now.