Anwar El Ghazi joined Everton on 13 January 2022 on loan from Aston Villa for the remainder of the 2021/22 season.
The winger originally came to English football when he joined Aston Villa on loan from Lille in August 2018.
El Ghazi crowned his debut Villa season with the opening goal in the 2019 Championship play-off final victory over Derby County that secured the club’s Premier League return following a three-year absence.
He directly contributed to 11 goals – scoring five – in the regular campaign, gaining substantial popularity among supporters and earning a permanent four-year contract.
The right footer added four goals and four assists from 34 appearances as Villa retained their top-flight status by one point from 18th-placed Bournemouth in 2019/20.
El Ghazi regularly featured in Villa’s run to face Manchester City in the 2020 League Cup final and provided the assist for his team’s goal in a 2-1 defeat.
He reached double figures for Premier League goals in 2020/21, scoring 10 times from 17 starts and 11 appearances as a substitute.
The Dutchman, who has two senior international caps, was on target in Villa’s 2-1 win at Goodison Park in May 2021, in addition to netting home and away against European champions Chelsea and scoring the only goal of games at Wolverhampton Wanderers and Leeds United.
El Ghazi scored three goals and assisted another three in 12 appearances – six starts – across the competitions from the outset of 2021/22 before swapping to Everton on a deal until the end of the season.
The player, who was born in the Dutch town of Barendrecht in May 1995, joined the academy of nearby Sparta Rotterdam, aged 14, after spells in the youth sections of Spartaan ’20 and Feyenoord.
Ajax were wowed by El Ghazi’s quality and potential as he advanced through the Sparta age groups and swooped to take the 18-year-old prospect to Amsterdam in July 2013.
He originally linked up with Ajax’s Under-19 side, notably figuring in the UEFA Youth League and scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over Celtic.
El Ghazi made his senior debut on the opening day of the following 2014/15 campaign, coming off the bench to create a goal in a 4-1 victory over Vitesse Arnhem. He scored in his side’s next two matches – against AZ Alkmaar and PSV Eindhoven – to make an irrefutable case for a regular starting spot.
By the end of the domestic league campaign, El Ghazi had scored 10 goals and provided nine assists from 23 starts and eight substitute appearances. He played five times in the Champions League, too, netting once, in a group match at Barcelona.
A lightning start to the following season – he scored six goals in Ajax’s opening four matches – was rewarded with full international recognition after the player, also eligible to represent Morocco, declared for Holland.
El Ghazi started two European Championship qualifying games in October 2015, adding to national-team honours at Under-21, Under-18 and Under-17 levels. El Ghazi’s Under-17 debut in September 2011 was only nine minutes old when he struck the goal that ultimately defeated Italy.
He finished his second season in Ajax’s first team with 11 goals but a final-day draw at De Graafschap allowed PSV to sneak in and retain their title by a two-point margin.
Ligue 1 Lille turned to El Ghazi – who can also operate as a central striker – on the final day of the winter 2017 transfer window, securing a transfer worth roughly £6.5m.
El Ghazi scored once in the second half of the campaign for a club ensconced in mid-table.
He had a direct hand in eight Ligue 1 goals – scoring four – from 27 appearances in 2017/18, as Lille dodge a perilous relegation play-off by a single point.
The attacker began the following season with Lille but reportedly attracted interest from a number of English clubs before choosing to join Villa’s ultimately successful promotion bid.