Wolves v Chelsea Match Pictures
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Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech has emerged as a surprise transfer alternative for Barcelona as they pursue new attacking options. But the Moroccan international would only leave for the Nou Camp if the Spanish giants fail to pull off the signing of Ferran Torres.
Ziyech has recently made his way into Thomas Tuchel’s injury and Covid-hit Blues side.
But he has not replicated the form that made him such an exciting signing from Ajax last summer.
The forward has struggled for consistency under both Tuchel and predecessor Frank Lampard and the jury is out on the 28-year-old at Stamford Bridge.
Despite Chelsea’s squad struggles, they have maintained enviable depth and it is not inconceivable that Ziyech’s Stamford Bridge career could be coming to an end already.
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According to transfer expert Fabrizio Romano, Barcelona are exploring the possibility of moving for Ziyech as a ‘Plan B’ option for Manchester City star Torres.
But Romano adds that the Catalan club are only likely to move for Ziyech if they miss out on Torres.
Cash-strapped Barcelona have not given up hope of signing Torres, despite their concerning financial state.
New manager Xavi is said to have identified the youngster as his top target and personal terms have already been agreed ahead of his proposed return to Spain.
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But the former Valencia winger will not secure his move if Barcelona don’t meet City’s €60m (£51m) demand.
It is claimed Barca have so far only bid €50m (£42.7m) to sign the 21-year-old.
Should they fail to stump up the money to sign the player who is on the peripheries under Pep Guardiola, experienced Ziyech could prove an enticing option.
But for now, Chelsea boss Tuchel is focusing on Ziyech’s fitness as his squad prepares for the hectic festive period of fixtures.
Ziyech failed to impress in the weekend’s goalless draw at Wolves and was taken off along with Trevoh Chalobah due to injury.
The injury list is mounting in west London but Tuchel confirmed that Ziyech’s injury was not as severe as first feared.
“We can survive a game but we will pay the price for sure. Maybe we already do it with all our midfielders,” he said.
“Trevoh, hopefully it’s just pain but at the moment it’s very painful. We hope it’s not serious but we need further examination.
“With Hakim, I don’t think it’s bad. He got hit on his nerve and his calf was tight. We had to take him off, of course.”
Chelsea travel to Brentford for a quarter-final Carabao Cup tie on Wednesday, and it is unclear whether Ziyech will be fit to start.
The Blues then face another tough away trip to Aston Villa before ending the year with a home fixture against Brighton.
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