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Meet Stoke City-bound Ramadan Sobhi: Egypt’s wonderkid
KingFut profiles Al Ahly and Egypt starlet Ramadan Sobhi ahead of a seemingly imminent transfer to Stoke City. A breakdown of the young winger’s career trajectory thus far and comparisons with potential Potters teammates. All data on Ramadan Sobhi in this article is powered by KoraStats.
Ramadan Sobhi, dubbed ‘the new Mohamed Abou-Treika’, started his professional career at Al Ahly in 2014, making his debut on February 6th – as a 16-year-old – against Ghazl El-Mahalla. His debut came as a surprise to most spectators, but after his impressive displays with Al Ahly U-17s at the Sheikh Zayed tournament in the UAE a couple months later, where he led the side to victories over Spanish giants Atletico Madrid and Brazil’s Botafogo, it seemed it was just the beginning of his rise.
Since then, he has become an indispensable player for the Red Devils, scoring 14 goals in 66 appearances in all competitions; helping the club win two Egyptian Premier League titles, two Super Cups and their very first CAF Confederation Cup.
The 19-year-old Egypt international’s performances in the Egyptian top-flight have attracted attention from a number of European suitors, including AS Roma, Arsenal and Stoke City, with the latter having recently made an official bid for Sobhi’s services, believed to be improved to the region of €5 million.
“He’s one of the best players and young talents I’ve ever seen including in England, Germany, Holland and Spain.” – Current Al Ahly and former Tottenham manager Martin Jol.
“I think he’s not ready yet because they don’t know him there, if people would know him, they would offer us 15 or 20 million euros not the peanuts [they’re offering],” he added.
Ramadan Sobhi – In Numbers
Ramadan is one of the reasons behind Al Ahly’s strong attacking force despite his young age, as he has directly contributed to 20% of his side’s league goals in 1999 minutes of playing time this season, helping the Red Devils reclaim the Egyptian Premier League title.
He is a versatile player who is capable of playing on the left side of the front line where he featured heavily this season, as well as on the right.
“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’ to KingFut.
The talented youngster can score, assist and create chances as well. He has scored five league goals – only three Al Ahly players have scored more this season – made six assists, and has won two penalties so far in the league this season.
Strengths and Weaknesses
His biggest strength is in the attacking third of the pitch, as he loves to get into dangerous positions and isn’t afraid to shoot. The winger has 12 shots on target, averaging an 46% shot accuracy.
Ramadan loves to drop deep to receive the ball from the midfielders, which allows him to control the game and to lead the front line with his excellent dribbling and passing abilities.
He has exceptional dribbling skills; his ability to beat his man is one of his major strengths. He has completed more take-ons than any Stoke City player achieved last season.
Ramadan racked up 92 successful dribbles, completing more take-ons than any Egyptian Premier League player, and 32 more than Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic.
— KingFut.com (@King_Fut) June 13, 2016
The Austrian winger had 60 completed take-ons to his name in the English Premier League last season, with former Barcelona wingers Ibrahim Afellay and Bojan Krkic completing 41 and 47 successful dribbles respectively, with Xherdan Shaqiri only completing 36.
If we look at the successful dribbles per 90 stats, Bojan has an average of 2.5 completed take-ons, Arnautovic has 1.9, Afellay has 1.8 and Shaqiri only managed 1.6 take-ons per 90 mins. Ramadan averages four successful take-ons per 90 mins, that shows clearly how good he is on the ball and what can he offer compared to the Stoke’s wingers.
His passing game is one of his main traits, as he has made over 1150 passes with an impressive average passing accuracy of 81%, the the second-highest percentage for a winger in the Egyptian Premier League.
Sobhi has a better passing accuracy than Arnautovic (79%), while Afellay, Bojan and Shaqiri have a passing accuracy of 90%, 84% and 82% respectively.
His interception stats are incredible, with the Cairo-born attacker intercepting the ball 37 times this season, more than any Stoke City winger. Arnautovic leads the Stoke wingers with 28 interceptions, while Shaqiri and Bojan have made 12 and 15 interceptions respectively.
There is some disappointment with his long ball passing and crossing though; Ramadan only completed 11 successful crosses from 36 attempts, for a rate of 31%, while his long ball passing accuracy rate sits at 25%.
Despite missing the final qualifier against Tanzania due to high school exams, Ramadan Sobhi was one of the main reasons behind Egypt’s qualification for the 2017 African Cup of Nations in Gabon despite playing only two games. He assisted Egypt’s equaliser in Nigeria, before scoring the winning goal in Alexandria, helping his nation qualifying for the AFCON after missing the last three tournaments.
He has also featured for the U18, U20s and Olympic national teams, and was part of the team that participated in the 2015 Africa U23 Cup of Nations in Senegal. He also helped Egypt qualify to the next round of the 2017 U20 AFCON qualifiers despite playing 45 minutes with Al Ahly less than 24 hours before the qualifier kicked-off. Sobhi scored the winning penalty that won Egypt the match.
Ramadan would be an excellent signing for Stoke City, and given his young age, he has a lot of time to improve, and adapt to the playing style of the English Premier League. He would likely be a good fit under Mark Hughes and has the qualities that could make him a Stoke City star.
“Ramadan can play on the left, cut inside and score. His style is a bit similar to Arnautovic but he can be better than him” – Mido
Ramadan may very well be one of the brightest talents in the world at the moment, and will not cost Stoke too much. He can also be a potential replacement for either Xherdan Shaqiri or Marko Arnautovic, with the Potters possibly losing the latter this summer due to a buy-out clause in his contract worth £12.5 million.