Why Ziyech could be the only elite level signing of the summer

Shrewd transfer business saw Chelsea swoop in for £38m Hakim Ziyech before the coronavirus crisis took hold… with an uncertain summer ahead in the transfer market for EVERY Premier League side, have they stolen a march on their rivals?

  • Chelsea stole a march on rivals by securing an early deal for Hakim Ziyech
  • With the COVID-19 pandemic halting football transfers are set to be hit hard
  • Football clubs have had budgets slashed as revenue streams quickly dry up 
  • The Blues now look astute in their business, with everything in football uncertain
  • Ziyech admitted a meeting with Frank Lampard saw his heart set on Chelsea 
  • Hypnotic passes and a rocket left foot: Five moments of Ziyech greatness 
  • Here’s how to help people impacted by Covid-19

As football falls ever further into the depths of uncertainty amid the coronavirus pandemic, the powers that be at Chelsea may have a wry smile on their faces.

It is now almost three months since the Blues struck a deal with Ajax for the highly coveted Hakim Ziyech, shaking hands for a price of £38million to fend off a host of elite rivals.

Yet with the upcoming summer transfer window set to be one of the most disorganised and unpredictable of all time, Chelsea may well be responsible for pulling off the last big deal for some while.

Hakim Ziyech committed to Chelsea just before world football was rocked by coronavirus

Across global football countless clubs have had budgets hugely slashed as revenue streams quickly dry up, scuppering immediate future plans and sending many boardrooms back to the drawing board.

Evidence can be seen with the likes of Manchester United, after club chief Ed Woodward last week had to publicly announce the English giants would now be unable to fund a major rebuild in the summer, comprising the world’s best stars.

United’s proposed move for Borussia Dortmund starlet Jadon Sancho appears all but off, along with an audacious swoop for Harry Kane derailed, as top sides face the prospect of abandoning plans to sign the biggest names. 

Barcelona are among the big clubs who have admitted that they will probably be relying on swap deals to bring in new faces, while a recent study by KPMG found that all players’ values will plummet, causing great uncertainty over how to get any deals done. 

Ziyech has played his final game for Ajax following the voiding of Eredivisie, and will switch to Chelsea in a £38million move in the summer – but he can only play from next season


Appearances: 165

Goals: 48

Assists: 82

Trophies: 3 

Ziyech therefore, who was tracked fiercely by Barcelona, Inter Milan and Liverpool, could prove to be the final piece of elite talent who slipped through before chaos hit.

Plans at Stamford Bridge have also had to be drastically altered after the pandemic ground football to a juddering halt.

The lack of a wage-cut agreement between Chelsea players and the club will prevent them from making further big investments in the transfer market, Gary Neville predicted. 

Discussions had been going back and forth between Blues players and senior staff regarding pay deferrals, from which it was agreed and announced that players would continue to be paid in full and not take a cut, but asked to make charitable donations. 

Neville believes the inability to reach terms will hamper Chelsea’s ability to do further business in the upcoming window, and instead bring about another scenario of the Blues looking to their youngsters.

‘This is only coming back one way, when it comes to June 30, Chelsea will invest less in the transfer market, they will invest less in players,’ Neville added, on the Sky Sports News Football Show.

Manager Frank Lampard convinced the Moroccan to pick Chelsea over elite European rivals

‘So if players had taken the pay cuts and deferrals, there would have been more to invest in the summer.’

At this stage it appears highly likely that Ziyech will feature as the marquee acquisition in West London this summer, and the first truly elite level star brought on board entirely by Lampard’s doing.

With the Dutch Eredivisie season now having been brought to an end and officially voided in light of the COVID-19 crisis, Ziyech has played his final game in the famous red and white of Ajax.

Speaking recently to Voetbal International in Holland, Ziyech explained his decision-making process in joining Chelsea, and how one conversation changed everything.

‘Now everything feels right,’ said the Moroccan, after expressing his anger that Ajax would be unable to be named champions in his final season.

‘Chelsea is a very big and nice club. There are a lot of talented youngsters, which puts me in a position I’m used to after the last three-and-a-half years at Ajax. It suits me well. 

‘Chelsea has a coach who loves attacking and attractive football in Frank Lampard. I feel the same way. We had some good talks. Lampard is really calm and presented himself well. 

‘We immediately felt a connection, which also convinced me to make this decision.

‘Therefore, now is the time to make a move. I’m ready, also as a person. It will be a new phase of my life to be further away from my family and friends in London. I don’t see it as a struggle, quite the opposite actually. I’m really looking forward to it.’

Given that Chelsea find themselves on the brink of losing two huge names in wingers Willian and Pedro, their pre-empted move for Ziyech now looks all the more astute.

Veteran stars Willian and Pedro are poised to leave Chelsea when their contracts expire

Both veteran stars are on the verge of finishing up lucrative Chelsea contracts, and look poised to move onto pastures new. The versatility of Ziyech, who is able to operate as a No 10 or on both flanks of a front three, goes a long way to filling the void.

While the English top flight remains increasingly hopeful of getting back on its feet, like the Bundesliga has the green light to do later in May, Ziyech is set to spend a short while in limbo.

The 27-year-old will not be able to play for Chelsea this season, and it is thought to be unlikely that he will be asked to report for duty if Lampard’s squad are still in training to complete the current campaign.    

Ziyech therefore, a Champions League-level star with his future already tied up, must wait in the wings for the new season to begin. If and when that may be still remains a mystery.

The question of whether Ajax would have still parted with the playmaker post coronavirus crisis is an interesting one to muse, particularly given the vital importance European qualification will now have for teams, in a financial regard.

Deals of a similar kind are unlikely to be conducted for the foreseeable future, and beyond. Chelsea stole a march on their rivals, perhaps unknowingly, and now Ziyech must repay the faith.

Stamford Bridge, along with all stadiums around the world, has seen its doors slammed shut due to the frightening outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic

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