Hakim Ziyech

Getty Images

Ziyech’s Chelsea contract details confirmed

Leave a comment

Chelsea has confirmed the contract details of talented midfielder Hakim Ziyech who will join this summer.

The London giants announced on Sunday that Ziyech has signed a five-year contract with Chelsea, beginning on July 1 this summer when his transfer from Ajax is completed.

On February 13, Chelsea and Ajax came to an agreement on a transfer fee for Ziyech, reported to be in the region of $43 million.

[ MORE: Premier League schedule

“I am delighted and proud to have signed for such a huge club as Chelsea,” Ziyech said in a statement. “I am looking forward to next season and hope we can achieve great things together.”

Chelsea was intent on signing Ziyech ahead of the competition and made Ajax a deal they couldn’t refuse.

The left-footed playmaker has been a star for Ajax and in the UEFA Champions League for the last few seasons, helping lead Ajax to the Champions League semifinals last season. So far this season, he’s scored eight goals and recorded four assists between the Dutch Eredivisie and the Champions League.

Ziyech’s arrival this summer surely spells the end of time for Pedro and William as attacking midfielders at Chelsea. The Dutchman, who usually plays as a right winger, cutting inside with the left foot, could create a great combination with Christian Pulisic, Tammy Abraham, and Mason Mount moving forward. Chelsea could also certainly sign another one in that position, to keep a deep squad in case of injuries and/or fatigue.

Reports: Chelsea closing in on Hakim Ziyech deal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

According to reports by Dutch publications De Telegraaf and Voetbal International, Chelsea has reached a verbal agreement for the transfer of Ajax playmaker Hakim Ziyech, costing around $49 million. The report has since been corroborated by The Athletic’s David Ornstein.

The De Telegraaf report states that Lampard was hoping to secure a player like Ziyech in the January transfer window, but since no new additions were brought in, the club began work immediately to secure the player’s signature in the summer. It also states that Ziyech wishes to finish out the season at Ajax before moving on, hoping to push for another Eredivisie title as well as the Europa League crown.

[ STREAM: Every PL match live ]

The report states that until a deal is signed with Chelsea, Ajax is open to other top European clubs who show interest in Ziyech, but at the moment the Dutch side is only negotiating with the Blues.

The 26-year-old joined Ajax in the summer of 2016 from fellow Dutch side FC Twente, and burst onto the scene last season when he scored 21 goals and assisted 24, helping Ajax reach the semifinals of the Champions League. He stayed amid heavy interest last summer, remaining despite the departure of fellow hot commodities Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong.

This summer would be the ideal time for Ajax to cash in on Ziyech, as his current contract expires in the summer of 2022. The Moroccan international signed an extension last summer, warding off interest from the likes of Sevilla, but with two years left on his deal the club would be wise not to let that dip any further. He has seen a dip in goalscoring form this season with just eight goals, but his creativity has not dropped a bit, already bagging 21 assists across all competitions.

Ziyech would be an interesting fit for Chelsea. Young academy product Mason Mount has risen to claim the central creative role, but on the wing things are shifting at Stamford Bridge. Pedro‘s role is diminishing, while Willian will be 32 years old by the start of next season. 21-year-old Christian Pulisic has performed well when healthy and 19-year-old Callum Hudson-Odoi is growing into his potential, but the young pair still has developing to do. The arrival of Ziyech would allow the club to transition away from the older duo and fully embrace its youth movement without diminishing its attacking talent on the flanks. Ziyech can also play in the middle, decreasing the seemingly heavy load on the shoulders of Mount.

WATCH: Audacious play by USMNT’s Dest starts gorgeous Ajax team goal

Photo by ANP Sport via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Sergino Dest respects that there’s about to be a big holiday in the United States, so naturally he’s feasting.

The Dutch American right back, 19, used an audacious flick on the touch line to help set up Ajax’s second minute goal against Lille as the Amsterdam set looks to take control of its group after Valencia and Chelsea drew in Spain.

[ MORE: Pulisic scores as Chelsea draws Valencia ]

Hakim Ziyech is the guy who delivered the finishing touch, but the shot and Dest’s flick were just the book ends of a terrific a team goal.

Donny van de Beek knifes Dest’s pass to Zakaria Labyad, who carries down the right before cutting inside for Dusan Tadic.

The ex-Saints forward lays off for Ziyech’s second goal of the UEFA Champions League campaign. He also has four assists after setting up three goals in the 4-4 thriller at Chelsea.

UEFA Champions League wrap: Ajax draws, Club Brugge wins

Photo by VI Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

The UEFA Champions League began its third qualifying round on Tuesday, with five sides taking advantage of the opportunity at hand.

[ MORE: Spurs agree Dybala fee ]


Club Brugge 1-0 Dynamo Kiev

Hans Vanaken’s 37th minute penalty was the difference as the Belgians will take an advantage to Ukraine.

New signing Simon Mignolet pitched the shutout after relegating American goalkeeper Ethan Horvath to the bench.

PAOK 2-2 Ajax

There were some North London Derby participants on show, as Chuba Akpom scored PAOK to make it 1-1 and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar bagged a 57th minute equalizer for Ajax after the Greek side went ahead.

Hakim Ziyech opened the scoring for Ajax, while Leo Matos scored PAOK’s other goal.

American prospect Sergino Dest was again an unused sub for the Dutch side.

Ziyech has been linked with a move to either Leicester City or Bayern Munich, and it’s easy to see why.

Elsewhere
APOEL Nicosia 1-2 Qarabag
Dinamo Zagreb 1-1 Ferencvaros
Red Star Belgrade 1-1 Copenhagen

Wednesday
Krasnodar v. Porto – 1 p.m. ET
Istanbul Basaksehir v. Olympiacos – 1:45 p.m. ET
CFR Cluj v. Celtic – 2 p.m. ET
Basel v. LASK – 2 p.m. ET
Maribor v. Rosenborg – 2:15 p.m. ET

Ajax exec Overmars makes Ziyech sales pitch to Arsenal

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Ajax technical director Marc Overmars has made a public pitch to Arsenal for winger Hakim Ziyech, who he believes would be high enough class to directly replace Mesut Ozil at a fraction of the cost.

The 46-year-old Dutchman, a former Gunner during his playing days when he spent three seasons at Highbury, made a bold and direct statement, calling out his old club to make a change in the attack that he believes will benefit them greatly. In fact, he insinuated that the two sides already spoke, but he was rebuffed, a surprising result to the Dutchman.

“I am a bit surprised that it is still so quiet around Hakim,” Overmars told Dutch publication Voetbal International. “I think he has played better every year and his statistics are exceptionally good. Many clubs are increasingly looking at that.”

It’s no surprise the technical director of a selling club is playing up one of his players, but it was only just beginning for Overmars, who specifically said Arsenal should rethink its strategy. “I think Hakim Ziyech is better than Mesut Ozil. I would say sell him and you will get Hakim for half [the price]. But they [Arsenal] didn’t listen to me. So it could just be that he stays with Ajax.”

It’s certainly quite a shock to see such a brazen public statement from an executive when most involved in transfer dealings are all too happy to keep the inside information out of view.

Ozil, who turns 31 in October, is a polarizing figure at Arsenal, where he has produced a host of brilliant and glittering moments but also gone missing for extended periods of a long season. He has failed to truly push Arsenal towards a genuine title challenge since arriving from Real Madrid in 2013, having secured just three FA Cup titles in his time at the Emirates, a relatively disappointing haul at a club that prides itself as one of the biggest in the English game.

The 26-year-old Ziyech is one of the stars of Ajax’s surprising Champions League run this season, helping the club reach the seemifinals and serving as an experienced presence in a squad bursting with young talent. He scored five goals and assisted four more in 17 Champions League matches and added another fantastic Eredivise haul to his wonderful season, scoring 16 league goals and assisting 17 more in 29 top-flight matches. Ziyech has 12 goals in 23 international matches for Morocco and started all four of their matches in this summer’s Africa Cup of Nations, failing to find the back of the net before the country was eliminated in the Round of 16 by Benin.

In the interview, Overmars also lauded David Neres for rejecting a move to China last winter, pointing out how well it worked out for both the club and player, with Ajax reaching far into the Champions League and Neres earning an international call-up.