Where Will Hakim Ziyech Fit In Frank Lampard's Squad?
Feb. 14, 2020
Chelsea have agreed a deal to sign Ajax's Hakim Ziyech at the end of the season
Chelsea head coach Frank Lampard has spoken regularly throughout this season about the club's need to find a long-term replacement for Eden Hazard, and it appears now that they have their man in Ajax's Hakim Ziyech.
Hazard had one year remaining on his Chelsea contract when he agreed a move to Real Madrid last summer for a fee that could reportedly rise to a club-record transfer of £130m.
Finding an adequate replacement for the Belgian is now the club's priority after their transfer ban was lifted ahead of the January transfer window.
Lampard spoke of the need to strengthen last month, but the window passed without any reinforcements arriving at Stamford Bridge.
A £32m signing from Lille in 2012, Hazard made 352 appearances for Chelsea, scoring 110 goals. He won two Premier League titles, two Europa Leagues, the FA Cup and League Cup during his time at Stamford Bridge.
Emulating that career at Chelsea is a tall order, but it is clear that the team are in need of additional creativity, with Pedro and Willian out of contract this summer.
Hazard scored 16 goals and provided 15 assists last season to total 31 goal involvements while the next most productive player was Pedro (eight goals, two assists) and Ruben Loftus-Cheek (six goals, two assists).
It was clear last summer that Chelsea needed additional creativity, but so far this term, only Tammy Abraham has reached double figures for league goals (13), with Christian Pulisic and Mason Mount (five each) next on the list.
Ziyech provides creation in abundance. No player has created more chances or notched more assists in the Eredivisie over the past three seasons - but the Morocco international also offers firepower.
Lampard expects inconsistency that comes with a youthful squad, and while Chelsea are also keen on signing Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho, Ziyech provides greater experience and Champions League pedigree.
This week, it was revealed that Chelsea recorded the highest net-profit of any club in world football in the last two transfer windows, according to newly published data.
They spent just €45m (around £38m) to turn Mateo Kovacic's loan from Real Madrid into a permanent deal - but the west Londoners made a further €205m (£173.7m) in player sales, stemming largely from the Hazard sale.
Having successfully appealed their transfer ban to the Court of Arbitration for Sport, Chelsea have identified Ziyech to fill Hazard's boots.
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