Chelsea are set to be active this summer, following a year without any additions and they have already made a signing for the 2020/21 campaign. They have signed Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, who has been tracked by a number of the biggest clubs in Europe during the last 24 months. BBC Sport report that the fee could rise to €44 million, which still seems a great price for the Premier League side. The Moroccan international is proven at the highest level, with a number of eye-catching performances in the Champions League in recent years.
For the last two seasons, it can be argued that Ziyech has been the best player in the Eredivisie and it is surprising that he hasn’t moved to a bigger league already. The success of Ajax in the Champions League during the last campaign likely kept him in the Netherlands for another 12 months. He has maintained a high level of performance, with two goals and four assists in the Champions League group stages. Although the Dutch giants failed to make it through the group, they did impress, especially in their away matches against Valencia and Chelsea.
It is likely that his performance at Stamford Bridge went a long way in convincing Frank Lampard to target him. Ziyech was excellent at using the space, and had two chances created during the match. The third Ajax goal was a result of a superb piece of individual brilliance from the midfielder, as he curled a free-kick onto the post from a very tight angle. The ball ultimately deflected in off of Kepa Arrizabalaga. Few players would have had the audacity to attempt to score from there and even fewer have the quality to pull it off. Although it didn’t go down as his strike, the goal was down to him.
Regular watchers of the Eredivisie will attest that Ziyech has been the best and most consistent player to watch since an incredible season with FC Twente in 2014/15, in which he contributed 11 goals and 16 assists. Since the beginning of that season, he has racked up 68 goals and 77 assists, which is a goal involvement every 105.7 minutes. There will be those that suggest that the quality of the league isn’t as high, but his performances in Europe suggest that he belongs at the highest level.
Ziyech has a lot of qualities in the final third and he is versatile. In the Champions League this season, he averaged 3.2 shots, 2.5 key passes and 2.2 dribbles per game. He is capable of beating a defender and unpicking a defence with a through ball. Ajax started to dominate following his signing and Chelsea will be hoping that he can make a big impact for them. He can play a number of roles, including on the right, in the middle of the park and as a number ten. The new signing will add versatility to the attacking options.
A big problem for Chelsea has been winning matches at home against the teams that they should be beating. That will be a big reason why Ziyech has been signed. In the Eredivisie, he has been used to playing with that pressure and finding a way to break down a determined defence. One potentially frustrating part of his game is his willingness to shoot from range, as he can make the wrong decisions at times. However, he is always willing to take responsibility on his shoulders and try to make something happen. Some at Chelsea have shrunk during difficult times this season. He could be the answer to that.