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Leicester winger Rachid Ghezzal moves to Beşiktaş

After multiple false starts, Riyad Mahrez’ replacement is finally moving on

Rachid Ghezzal in Istanbul
Ghezzal making the international sign for...honestly, I have no idea. Anyone know?
Photo by Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Turkish giants Beşiktaş have completed the signing of Leicester City winger Rachid Ghezzal. The Algeria man spent 2021 on loan with the Kara Kartallar in Istanbul, where he registered 8 goals and 17 assists in 31 matches. The terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but they are very likely somewhere between “what Leicester wanted” and “what we would have taken,” so this one goes in the “win” column.

City signed Ghezzal from A.S. Monaco in 2018, viewing him as a replacement for Riyad Mahrez. The similarities, on paper at least, were numerous: They’re both left-footed right-wingers from Algeria who plied their trade in France before moving to the East Midlands.

Yes, that’s Riyad Mahrez crouching in front of Ghezzal and Islam Slimani. Photos like this make my job so much easier.
Photo credit should read KHALED DESOUKI/AFP via Getty Images

Much like trying to date someone who is entirely too similar to your ex who just dumped you, the move didn’t work out particularly well. Ghezzal demonstrated he was a tricky dribbler who could deliver a dead ball on a dime but didn’t have the pace required to play out wide in the Premiership.

Embedding your site’s tweets in your article? Learned it from Christopher Nolan!

Ghezzal started only 8 top-flight matches for the Foxes, managing only 19 total appearances in the league. He scored one goal, a memorable strike against Liverpool, but it wasn’t enough for him to retain his place in the squad. The former Lyon winger spent 2019/20 on loan with Fiorentina, who decided not to pursue a permanent move. His 2020/21 in Turkey was a triumph, spurring interest from both Beşiktaş and Galatasaray. This evening, he agreed to terms with Beşiktaş to seal his move.

Leicester City v Liverpool FC - Premier League
Honestly, he could hit them from time to time.
Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images