The rascal moves on: Edon Zhegrova’s move to Lille is perfect
The 22-year-old winger Edon Zhegrova will leave FC Basel for France and Rotblau will lose one of his most spectacular and recently most important players.
A photo of the Eiffel Tower on Edon Zhegrova’s Snapchat account further fueled rumors of his departure from FC Basel on Friday. After various media had already reported on Thursday evening about the interest of the French champion OSC Lille, the “L’Equipe” reported the next day that Zhegrova completed the medical check on Friday morning and in the afternoon a five-year contract with the current tenth of Ligue 1 will be signed.
Zhegrova is to replace Jonathan Ikoné, who has moved to Florence, on the wing in the Champions League round of 16. The 22-year-old Kosovar is expected to transfer around seven million euros from northern France to northwestern Switzerland. A sum that can be even higher with bonuses.
At 8.30 p.m. the two clubs then confirmed the transfer. After the away game in Lucerne at the end of November 2021, Zhegrova explained that he currently feels very comfortable in Basel, wants to become champions and will do everything for it. But as is so often the case in football, things seem to happen quickly.
Financially a good deal, sportingly there is a risk
FC Basel made a good deal by changing their wing dribbler, who would have had a year and a half contract. The purchase price of the rumored three million francs that FCB paid in 2020 for the previously loaned left foot has meanwhile more than doubled. And this business, together with the wage savings for the clammy club, whose reserves are almost completely used up, is probably the main reason why FCB agrees to the change.
Because sporty Zhegrova will be missing. Due to the personnel situation, one could think that FCB with Valentin Stocker, Liam Millar, Darian Males, Dan Ndoye and Joelson Fernandes in the outside positions would be well filled even without him. But be careful: With Zhegrova, Basel have scored 2.73 points per game in 16 games this season. Without him, the average was only 1.5. In Almaty or in Sion he almost single-handedly ensured victory with his dream goals from a distance.
Not to be neglected is that spectacular players like Zhegrova are one of the reasons why so many fans come to the stadium. Because despite his stubbornness and the occasional escapades (training strike before the change, visa theater in Russia, weekend trip home despite a travel ban, feeling unwell at the last friendly in Lugano), Zhegrova has a lot of sympathy points with the red-blue fan base, especially since he is less often headless this season wants to dribble through the wall than in previous years.
“I’m trying to offer something to the spectators,” said Zhegrova six months after his arrival (on loan from Genk) in late autumn 2019, when he had just shot YB with a dream goal and assist. And it is precisely this style of play that will be missed in Basel. “He’s a rascal,” said Zhegrova’s favorite teammate Taulant Xhaka about him. And it almost seems as if the Eiffel Tower post from Paris, which has since disappeared, was Edon Zhegrova’s last trick in the service of FCB.