Despite a testing start to life back in the top-flight, Aston Villa possess the players and coaching staff to excel in their return to the Premier League after a three-year absence. But Dean Smith simply must give this summer signing the opportunity to propel Villa up the league table.
After a highly successful loan spell at the club during their promotion-winning campaign from the Championship, former Lille winger Anwar El Ghazi, 24, signed for the club on a permanent basis this summer for a fee believed to be in the region of £8m.
El Ghazi played a vital role in Smith’s squad during 2018/19, but owing to the arrival of Mahmoud Trezeguet in the summer transfer window, the Dutchman has so far had limited opportunities to express his qualities in the top-flight; despite scoring in the club’s only victory of the season so far against Everton.
The 24-year-old possesses the pace and ability to make a real impact for Villa in their bid to retain their Premier League status, and Monday night’s game against West Ham could be the perfect opportunity for the Dutch winger to make a real impression on Smith in an attempt to retain his faith as a starting selection for Villa in 2019/20.
There is no doubting that competition for places is extremely high in the squad, especially after 13 new players arrived this summer in a spending spree of over £130m, but El Ghazi is a player who has the potential to nail down a starting berth for Villa under Smith, and could, in fact, become one of their most important players this season in the top-flight.
Smith is aware of El Ghazi’s qualities after their highly successful season in the Championship, but if the former Walsall boss can find the faith to start El Ghazi against West Ham, it could be a decision that is handsomely rewarded by the exciting, impactful winger.