This article forms part of our Total Duds feature series, which is where Football Transfer Tavern takes a look at a player who has disappointed since being signed, using statistical figures and statements from pundits to illustrate how ill-judged the transfer decision has been.
Recently, Leicester City’s recruitment process has been praised by the Telegraph, though it’s important to remember, not every club always gets it right. Indeed, when Algerian winger Rachid Ghezzal joined Leicester for an alleged £10m (per Sky Sports), it seemed unlikely his Foxes career could be over so soon, which is now looking like the case.
Ghezzal, who is now 27, was bought by Claude Puel but struggled to get into the first-team fold at Leicester for a consistent basis – especially once Puel was sacked and Brendan Rodgers took over.
After he joined the club, he was slowly introduced into the first team by Puel, not making his first start until the fourth game of the season, where he scored a goal against Liverpool in a 2-1 loss.
Playing on the right-wing, it simply just didn’t click for Ghezzal. In his 19 league appearances for the club, he only made eight starts, with Demerai Gray and Marc Albrighton often preferred on the flank, or Harvey Barnes when his loan ended in January.
Unfortunately for the Algerian, his stats reflect why he was chosen for so few games and why he was subsequently sent out on loan to Fiorentina for this season. According to WhoScored, the midfielder had the 18th highest average rating in the whole squad, with a measly 6.43/10. From his stats, there wasn’t really much that he brought to the team – and definitely not the dribbling, crossing or finishing ability that Riyad Mahrez had before him.
From his matches, he only averaged 1 dribble per game – only the sixth highest in the squad with Ben Chilwell even being ahead of him. He made just 0.8 key passes per game, just one shot per game and just 0.8 crosses per game, without making a single assist throughout the whole season.
Ghezzal’s chances were already dwindling from an under-pressure Puel, and when he eventually got the sack, things became much more difficult for the winger. After Rodgers’ appointment on February 26, he managed just 19 minutes (per Transfermarkt) more Premier League football for Leicester in their 11 matches, not even being a member of the squad for the final five games of the season.
By this point, it was becoming apparent that Ghezzal looked like a flop and that his future at the club looked very much in doubt, with players such as Barnes showing so much promise under Rodgers.
When Leicester signed Ayoze Perez at the beginning of this season, his position in the team looked almost impossible with so many players ahead of him in the pecking order.
It became clear from the start of the league season that he wasn’t going to feature, and when he eventually departed the club to join Fiorentina on the deadline of September 2, his status as a flop was surely all but confirmed. Given that Leicester have such a young and talented squad, the chances of him being reintegrated are arguably next to nothing at this point, considering the strength and depth available to Rodgers.