*Age on opening day of the season
FAC: FA Cup; FL: Football League; D1: Division 1; D2: Division 2; D3: Division 3; PL: Premier League; CH: Championship
Wednesday, 3 May 1995
Wednesday, 22 August 2018,
Monday, 1 July 2019
BVV Barendrecht |
2006-08 Feyenoord, Free |
2008-13 Sparta Rotterdam, Free |
2013-17 AFC Ajax, £5k |
2017-19 Lille OSC, £6.3m |
End of Loan
Seasons Active, Fee, Starts (Sub) | Goals |
2018- Aston Villa (L), £8.1m, 88 (28) | 26 |
Steve Bruce |
Dean Smith |
First Squad Appearance
Saturday, 25 August 201
Saturday, 25 August 2018
Reading (h), Championship
Saturday, 1 September 2018
Final Squad Appearance
2018-19 Play Off Final Winners |
2019-20 League Cup Runners Up |
(6 ft 2 in) 1.88 m
Player #926 for Aston Villa, Anwar El-Ghazi, has played as a winger for the club since 2018-19.
El-Ghazi was born in Barendrecht, Netherlands on 3 May 1995.
Then Villa boss Steve Bruce had signed El-Ghazi from LOSC Lille on loan to the end of the 2018-19 Football League Championship season joining on 22 August 2018.
El Ghazi made his debut appearance for Villa at the age of 23 on Saturday, 25 August 2018 as a substitute in the 1-1 home draw with Reading and went on to make 36 appearances for Villa in his debut season including 6 as a substitute and scored 6 goals and contributed 6 assists.
El-Ghazi made 5 appearances for Villa under Steve Bruce including one as a substitute and hit a consolation goal - his first for the club - in the 4-1 Championship defeat at Sheffield United on Saturday, 1 September 2018, a game that proved pivotal for Steve Bruce’s reign as Villa boss.
Following Bruce’s dismissal and Dean Smith’s arrival El-Ghazi struggled to retain his place in the first team with just 2 substitute appearances in Smith’s first seven games. However after hitting Villa’s 5th goal in the remarkable 5-5 draw with Nottingham Forest on Wednesday, 28 November 2018, El-Ghazi had done enough for Dean Smith to give him a starting berth in the next game.
El-Ghazi wouldn’t look back and made 29 appearances in the next 31 games to the end of the 2018-19 season with just 3 being from the substitute bench.
In only this second start for Villa under Dean Smith, El-Ghazi hit a brace at West Bromwich Albion on Friday, 7 December 2018 as refereeing incompetence cost Villa a derby win and began to significantly improve his resilience, consistency and influence on the team.
El-Ghazi’s loan season with Villa culminated in him striking the opening goal in Villa’s Wembley Play Off final win over Derby County that secured the club’s return to the Premier League after three seasons away.
El-Ghazi, due to return to LOSC Lille at the end of his loan spell, was signed permanently by Villa in July 2019 for a fee of £8,100,000 with the Dutch winger lined up to play an integral part in Villa’s return to the top flight after his encouraging debut season in England.
Scoring the goal that sent Villa on the path back to the Premier League came with a feeling of responsibility for El Ghazi:
“Every time I did groceries or whatever you had people everywhere/ Everywhere you had Aston Villa people and saying ‘we have to win this game’. Young people, old people, mothers and fathers. Everyone.
“Then when I scored that goal…I don’t know what feeling came through because if I watched the crowd it was just so amazing, especially after the game when you see people and how happy they were. It just gives me a good feeling if I can make people happy.”
El Ghazi went on to feature heavily throughout the 2019-20 campaign making 39 appearances scoring 6 goals and creating 7. El Ghazi also played a key role in Villa’s run to their ninth League Cup final and their third visit to Wembley in three seasons and Anwar’s second in successive campaigns.
As Villa struggled to adjust to life in the Premier League so did Anwar however as Dean Smith described in December 2020 “He [Anwar El Ghazi] had an up-and-down season last season”
Coming into the 2020-21 season Villa purchased Bertrand Traoré as direct competition for El Ghazi and with Trézéguet being the preferred starter - as Traoré settled in - El Ghazi’s only starts came in the EFL Cup.
As Dean Smith explained “We started this season really well with Jack [Grealish] on one side and Trézéguet on the other.”
As a result, ahead of the 2020 transfer deadline there were rumours that El Ghazi would move on however Smith retained El Ghazi’s services allowing him to make his first league appearance of the season as a substitute in the 3-0 thrashing of Arsenal.
Trézéguet’s injury problems let Anwar back into the team and he set about re-establishing himself as a player of great worth, hitting an injury time penalty to beat Wolves on their home patch and then a double to vanquish West Brom away - his second brace against the Baggies.
Between those games, Anwar had eight shots on goal against Burnley without scoring - the first player to do so since John Carew a decade earlier.
Anwar kept up his goalscoring form in the following game with a super strike into the top corner against Crystal Palace to make it 3-0 and 4 goals in 4 for the revitalised El Ghazi and hit Villa’s equaliser at Stamford Bridge on 28 December 2020, rounding off the year with 5 goals in 5 games.
Dean Smith paid tribute to Anwar saying “[Anwar El Ghazi] and Bertrand [Traoré] have seized their chance. Anwar’s come in and scored five goals in five games, you can’t argue with that.”
From the turn of 2021 however El Ghazi’s fortunes declined - as with the rest of the first team squad he was sidelined due to the COVID-19 outbreak at the club and as a result his momentum stalled. Foe Villa’s return to competitive action in late January, El Ghazi had been relegated to the bench and would make just 5 starts across the next 14 fixtures, appearing from the bench on 5 occasions.
El Ghazi did hit an early goal to beat Leeds United at Elland Road and notch up his seventh of the season but struggled to make an impact in other fixtures as a result of which Traoré and Trézéguet became Dean Smith’s preferred choice even in the absence of captain Jack Grealish.