Ramadan Sobhi’s agent would have you believe his client wasn’t given a fair crack at Stoke City and to a point, he’d be right. However, the Egyptian winger never took full advantage of the opportunities that were afforded to him.
Ramadan made the majority of his appearances for Stoke off the bench and only completed 90 minutes four times last season, becoming very much been a squad rotation player for the Potters.
He even managed to fall behind right back Moritz Bauer in the pecking order, despite the defender needing to be pushed up and swapped over to his unfavoured left flank to cover the injured Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.
The young star showed a lot of promise in his time at Stoke but so rarely offered any end product. He managed just two goals and two assists in 41 Premier League appearances, that’s just one more than Jese Rodriguez, who infamously spent the majority of his only season at Stoke away from the club.
A lot of fans would have liked to see Sobhi given a run in the team but with that kind of strike rate, it’s understandable why he was rarely called on for Stoke’s relegation battle.
The Egyptian has very talented feet but it’s led to a bad habit of him always trying to take on the extra man. A smart winger knows when to play the ball and when to run at defenders, Sobhi is only capable of the latter, often running into trouble.
When he does dance clear of defenders his delivery often leaves a lot to be required, resulting in Ramadan giving the ball away more often than not. Putting the extra pressure on himself often leads to skewered balls that sail over the bar or out of play.
In short, Ramadan has the talent to be a success in the Premier League but lacks the footballing intelligence or emotional maturity to make it happen. That will be the biggest challenge facing David Wagner as Ramadan – or at least his representatives – has once again shown his inexperience in the handling of his move to Huddersfield.
Stoke have plenty of wantaway stars this summer, some of whom made their intentions clear last season but Ramadan is the first to try to force a move. Less than a week into the transfer window his agent was already in the media declaring the vast amounts of Premier League interest in his client.
A sort of ‘come and get me’, ‘better act fast’ sales pitch only for Ramadan to secure a switch to Huddersfield. With all due respect to what Wagner has achieved it’s hard to imagine it would have been his first choice. Huddersfield is not really a good fit for him, he is sure to be involved in another relegation battle next season and could potentially face the drop again.
Ramadan is also set to play for Egypt at the upcoming World Cup and would have been well advised to showcase his talents on the global stage before securing a switch, like fellow club mates Xherdan Shaqiri and Jack Butland hope to do.
By allowing his agent to take charge of the situation and once again putting himself under unnecessary pressure, it seems Ramadan will jump on the first ship that comes his way rather than taking the time to weigh up his options.
If Stoke are smart they could look to secure a move with one of Huddersfield’s promotion stars like Elias Kachunga coming the other way to auto-fill the void left by a talented winger who flatters to deceive.
Likewise, Ramadan will surely be lauded as a great signing at a club the size of Huddersfield, he has an abundance of talent and could be a significant player for them if he can nail down a first-team spot in pre-season.
The only party who will probably not benefit from the move is the player himself who will likely still have to compete for places with the likes of Kachunga and Rajiv Van La Parra. If he doesn’t become a success at Huddersfield, he’ll be in real danger of becoming just another promising star who couldn’t live up to the billing.