Ramadan Sobhi,the highly-rated Egyptian winger signed for Engish Premier League club Stoke City for a fee of €6 million from his boyhood Egyptian club Al Ahly, becoming the Egyptian league's most expensive Egyptian ever. The youngster who just turned 19 this June, is touted to be the best young talent in African football and has already earned the nickname of "Egyptian Messi" and "Ramadona" from the local media. A bit of an exaggeration one might say, but we at Sportskeeda try to break down the player's qualities and see how good he actually is.
Ramadan Sobhi was born on 27 June 1997 in Cairo, the capital of Egypt. His journey as a footballer started in the youth facilities at Al Ahly and he made his professional first team debut in 2014 for Al Ahly just at the age of 16 in the 2013-14 Egyptian Premier League game against Ghazl El Mahalla. He made just 3 appearances in the 2013-14 season but all of them came in decisive games. He scored in Al Ahly's last championship playoff game against Petrojet in a 4-0 win, which secured the League title for the club.
From the 2014-15 season, Ramadan became a regular for his club and helped them secure another league title in 2015-16. He also helped his side to cup and super cup triumphs in 2014. Ramadan was a prominent member of the Al Ahly side that won it's first ever CAF Confederation Cup title in 2014. He became the second youngest player to break into the Egypt National Team at the age of 17 when he made his debut against Tanzania in 2015. He played a massive role in Egypt's qualification to the 2017 African Cup of Nations,ending their six-year absence from the tournament.
The 19-year-old teenager plies his trade mainly as a left winger and he can also play as an attacking midfielder. The explosive youngster scored 5 goals and provided 6 assists in 28 appearances leading his club to the league title last season and he was directly involved in 20 percent of all Al Ahly's goals in the league. The stats in the league clearly show Ramadan's indispensability in the Al Ahly squad.
He averaged 57 touches per game last season, being the leader in the league among wingers. He also tops the chart of the most touches in the final third averaging 27 per game. The winger contributed a goal or assist every 160 minutes for his club and seven of his 12 direct contributions came when his club was trailing or drawing. He's not afraid to shoot either. The winger has 12 shots on target last season,averaging a shot accuracy of 46 percent.
Ramadan's biggest strength is his dribbling skills and this is the biggest reason of him getting the nicknames mentioned at first. His successful dribbles count for the 2015-16 league season was 92, easily the highest in the league. He averaged a mighty 4.1 dribbles per 90 minutes,again the highest tally in the league. The most dangerous feature of Ramadan's game is that most of these dribbles have come in the final third. 49 of his dribbles have come in the final third and 24 of them have come inside the opposition penalty box. Both of those tallies are highest in the league by a long way. His trickery in and around the box has paved the way for many goals for his club.
Ramadan's passing is another area where he is ahead of his contemporaries. His passing accuracy in the league last season last season was 82 percent, the second-highest in the league among wingers. Not only is Ramadan good enough in beating defenders he also feeds his strike partners with delicious final passes often resulting in goals, a rare trait for a guy of his age. His work rate is an asset for any side. Ramadan's interception stats are quite brilliant with 37 interceptions,the second-highest tally for a winger in the league. He also had the most successful tackles for a winger with 33.
“Ramadan Sobhi is the best talent in North Africa. He can score and assist goals, and works hard when he doesn’t have the ball, something which is essential for playing in England”- Ahmed Hossam Mido.
The only weakness in his game seems to be his crossing. Ramadan completed just 11 successful crosses out of 36 attempts last season,a crossing accuracy of just 31 percent. For a winger,that is considerably low. But he is working on that aspect with his coaches. Another slight area of concern in his game is his constant showboating which sometimes leads to unnecessary scuffles on the pitch. Now, that Ramadan is coming to an even more physically challenging league in England he needs to cut down a bit on his showboating. But by no means should he mellow down his trickery.
It's fair to say that Ramadan Sobhi the Cairo-born teenager would turn out to be an excellent signing for Stoke,given his age and also his ability. He's constantly improving as a footballer. With Xherdan Shaqiri rumored to be leaving the club, the Egyptian youngster could be a trump card for Mark Hughes' side this season. Let's hope he turns out to be a very good young player and fulfill his potential.Published 26 Jul 2016, 17:54 IST