Chelsea announce Hakim Ziyech deal

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Only a day after news first broke of potential contact between Chelsea and Ajax for playmaker Hakim Ziyech, the Blues have announced the completion of a deal with the Dutch club.

The London side declared Thursday morning they have agreed to terms with Ajax for the permanent transfer of Ziyech in the summer. That the deal is subject to personal terms.

Ajax also confirmed the deal, announcing a fee of around $43.5 million.

There were reports over the last 24 hours that stated Chelsea made an attempt to sign Ziyech in the January transfer window, but that the player was adamant he wished to stay through the end of the season and would only sign for a team in the summer.

Ziyech was a major part of the Ajax squad that reached the Champions League semifinals last season, and while many thought he would depart the Dutch side along with fellow hot commodities Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt, Ajax did not offload the 26-year-old as to not completely dismantle the squad and remain competitive, and instead signed him to a new contract last summer. However, with Ziyech’s contract expiring in the summer of 2022, it seems the plan was always to re-up him for another year in preparation for a sale this summer.

From Ziyech’s perspective, the agreement of personal terms still seems to be a somewhat significant hurdle in the deal. Chelsea sits fourth in the Premier League and is by no means guaranteed a place in the Champions League next season. According to the pair of Dutch reports that first broke the news on Wednesday, Ziyech wants his next team to be a Champions League participant, and it’s possible he holds out to see if the Blues do in fact qualify for next season’s competition or if they fall out of the race.

The attacker is naturally a right winger who can also play through the middle, though his strengths come in delivering crosses and long-balls for teammates. He has 97 Eredivisie assists across 213 league appearances, and he has delivered seven Champions League assists in 27 appearances over the past two campaigns. He also has goalscoring capabilities, with 27 goals across all competitions the last two seasons.

For the Blues, adding a winger is critical to the club. Pedro is out of contract this summer and almost certain to depart the club. Willian has played well in significant minutes, but the Brazilian is also out of contract this summer and Chelsea may not be willing to commit to the Brazilian long-term at 32 years old. As the squad stands, Christian Pulisic is likely a starter on the left when healthy, with Ziyech starting on the right. Callum Hudson-Odoi is also a solid wing option although the 19-year-old still has some developmental progress to make. Mason Mount has locked down the attacking midfield role, while Ziyech could slide over should Mount find himself on the sidelines.