Right winger Rachid Ghezzal put pen to paper Saturday, completing his move from AS Monaco to Leicester City. The 26 year-old signed a 4 year deal which well keep him at the King Power through the the 2021/2022 season. He is Leicester City’s 5th senior signing of the summer, following Jonny Evans, James Maddison, Ricardo Pereira, and Danny Ward.
Ghezzal spent 5 years at his home-town club of Olympique Lyon. He had has best season in 2015/16 (which seems appropriate for a Leicester player), scoring 8 goals and providing 8 assists in only 16 starts. He secured a move to Monaco before the 2017/18 season, but he failed to settle in with Les Monégasques. He started only 7 matches and appeared in 19 more as a substitute, scoring twice and adding three assists during his time at Stade Louis II.
Internationally, Ghezzal was eligible to represent both France and Algeria. He was called up to the France U20 squad in 2013, but ultimately chose to represent the Desert Foxes at the senior level. He’s been capped 14 times and scored once against Ethiopia in 2016.
In many ways, Ghezzal is the most like-for-like replacement for Riyad Mahrez you could imagine. Tell me if you’ve heard this description before: Ghezzal is a French-born Algeria international who played his club football in France. He’s a left-footed right winger who is incredibly skillful on the ball, capable of beating multiple defenders with a single Cruyff turn. He’s capable of reaching double-digits in both goals and assists in a single season. Slap a “26” on his back and you’d be forgiven for thinking that we’d cloned our departed talisman.
There are some notable differences between the two players, some good, and some more worrying. Ghezzal is much more eager to get involved in winning the ball than the former Le Havre man ever was, a trait that is sure to delight his manager and the fans alike. On the other hand, our latest signing has yet to establish himself as a consistent contributor to the attack. In the 5 years outside of his 2015/16 campaign, he has scored only 6 goals and provided 11 assists. That’s just over 1 goal and 2 assists a year.
While the terms with Monaco weren’t disclosed, City are rumoured to have paid between £12-13m for the Algerian’s services. That’s nowhere near the bargain we got for Mahrez, but in today’s market, that’s not a huge fee for a player with Ghezzal’s skills. Just for context, that’s approximately the same fee we paid for backup goalkeeper Danny Ward. You’re not going to get an established star for that price anymore, but if the winger can to turn some of his skills into end product, he could prove to be the bargain of the season.
What do you think of the signing?
How do you rate the signing of Rachid Ghezzal?
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Aces! He’s the perfect replacement for Mahrez.
He’s decent depth, but is he any better than Gray or Diabate?
Ugh! Why did we sign a player who’s never started regularly for his club?