Everton have announced the signing of forward Anwar El Ghazi from Aston Villa on loan for the remainder of the 2021-22 season, making him the third player to join the Blues during the January transfer window.
The Dutchman has previously worn #22 and #21 at Villa, #7 at LOSC Lille and #7 and #21 at Ajax Amsterdam before that.
He has chosen to wear #34 in tribute to his friend and former teammate at Ajax Abdelhak Nouri. The 24 year-old suffered permanent brain damage after he collapsed with a cardiac arrest during a pre-season friendly against Werder Bremen in July 2017. Then a promising attacking midfielder, the Amsterdam native was unable to continue his playing career and he requires around-the-clock care.
El Ghazi boosts the club’s depth on the wings, joining Richarlison, Demarai Gray, Andro Townsend, Anthony Gordon and Alex Iwobi. The 26-year-old is right-footed but can play on both touchlines, a versatility that should serve him well at the Toffees.
The Toffees were expected to be busy during the January transfer window with Benitez indicating that he thought “2-3 signings” could happen, and now with Vitaliy Mykolenko and Nathan Patterson already in, it’ll be interesting to see if the Blues do add another player in the next couple of weeks.
The #34 shirt has previously been worn by Nathan Broadhead (20/21 - 21/22), Beni Baningime (18/19 - 19/20), Oumar Niasse (17/18), Shane Duffy (09/10 - 12/13), John Irving (07/08 - 08/09), Matt McKay (99/00), Francis Jeffers (97/98 - 98/99), and Paul Holmes (95/96).