23-Year-Old Departs Sincil Bank

Courtesy Graham Burrell

Zack Elbouzedi has left Lincoln City, signing for Swedish top-flight side AIK for an undisclosed fee.

The 23-year-old appeared just 11 times for the Imps in a one-and-a-half-year stay with the club. Five of those came in his first six months, with six outings and two goals last season.

This season, he made just two outings before December, despite impressing against Salford in pre-season. He started the 1-1 draw with Scunthorpe in the EFL Trophy and came on as we beat Forest Green 6-2. He kicked into life in the EFL Trophy Second Round tie with Shrewsbury, scoring one and setting up two as we routed Salop 4-1. That earned him the ‘Player of the Round’ accolade’, but just 15 minutes of league football followed, against Northampton (1 minute) and Burton Albion (14 minutes). Despite that, he was back in the side for the visit of Accrington Stanley in the next round of the EFL Trophy, where he again scored and laid one on in another outstanding performance. He won the Player of the Round once again, before joining Bolton Wanderers on loan until the end of the season.

Courtesy Graham Burrell

He played 14 times for Bolton, mainly as a sub, but was told by manager Michael Appleton on his return he was free to find a new club. That clearly alerted AIK, who have been monitoring him since Ireland played Sweden at Under 21 level in November 2019. Elbouzedi scored in that game and has been on the radar of manager Bartosz Grzelak ever since.

A short statement released by the club said: “Everyone at the Imps would like to thank Zack for his efforts at the club and wish him well with this fantastic opportunity.”

It is a great opportunity for Zack, who will now appear in his fourth different country. AIK are currently fifth in the Allsvenskan, and Zack will join two of their Euro 2020 squad, Seb Larsson and Michael Ludwig, as they hunt a Europa League spot. They have 12 titles to their name and are the most successful Swedish club ever in terms of the number of years they have spent in the top flight. They have also qualified for UEFA club competitions the more times this century than any other Swedish side.