HAKIM ZIYECH: THE STORY OF THE MOROCCAN MAGICIAN
There has been much discussion about Chelsea’s recent summer spending spree with big names for the future such as Timo Werner and Kai Havertz arriving.
But perhaps their biggest steal of the window, would have to be the £38m purchase of Hakim Ziyech from Ajax.
The attacking playmaker has had a fantastic start to his Chelsea career and seems to already have adjusted to the speed of the Premier League.
With just 190 minutes played in the league, Ziyech has put up some impressive numbers picking up three assists and scoring on his full debut in a 3-0 win against Burnley.
It also must be taken into consideration that he has only just returned from an injury he suffered in a pre-season game against Brighton so he may not have even reached top gear yet.
There were some doubts as to whether he would be able to make the step up from the Eredivise, to one of, if not the best league in world football.
So far though, there are no question marks surrounding him.
He looks to have settled into the team very quickly and his teammates have spoken extremely highly of him already.
Ziyech is the type of player who can really bring some class into the team and he could be the man Chelsea look to rely on in vital moments.
Having already demonstrated his wand of a left foot on multiple occasions there is a certain flair he shows that many others do not have, and he can really dictate the way a game is played.
The Moroccan magician has also represented Chelsea in the Champions League, featuring in the 4-0 and 3-0 victories over FK Krasnodar and Stade Rennais F.C. respectively.
Over the recent years Ziyech has been one of Ajax’s stars in the Champions League, he was a vital part of the side in 2018/19 when they got all the way to the semi-finals.
He scored in both legs when Ajax surprisingly knocked out the holders Real Madrid and also scored in the dramatic 3-2 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur.
In last season’s campaign as well, with Ajax and Chelsea being drawn in the same group, he had a chance to impress Frank Lampard and that he did.
He shone in the 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge and was unlucky to have an assist ruled out following an offside in the 1-0 defeat in the reverse fixture.
This was obviously more than enough to spark the interest of the Chelsea manager and an agreement for the signing of the player was completed on the 12th of February.
With Premier League rivals Manchester United and Arsenal interested in the signing of the player, Chelsea knew it was a deal they had to get done sooner rather than later.
This is, as mentioned previously, a massive jump for Ziyech, but where did it all begin for him?
He began his professional career playing for Heerenveen in the Dutch league after joining the academy in 2007.
After making his debut in a Europa League qualifying game, Ziyech went onto play a total of 46 games for the club, scoring a total of 14 goals and providing 11 assists.
Following a successful time with Heerenveen Ziyech moved to fellow Dutch league side FC Twente in a transfer deal that cost £3.15m.
He spent two years there, and this was when he really started to develop into a special player.
Because of the quality that he had shown, Ziyech was named the captain of the squad in his second season, but after publicly requesting to leave, things quickly went south and he was stripped of this role.
The natural talent Ziyech demonstrated during his time at FC twente led to him being picked up by the most successful club in the Netherlands.
In a deal worth £9.9m this was a massive move for the Moroccan.
Ajax are a club with a rich history, and now he had the opportunity to prove and test his ability on the big stage.
Here Ziyech was able to win the Eredivisie and the Dutch Cup in 2018/19, Ajax also went on to win the Dutch Super Cup in 2020.
The playmaker was also crowned as the footballer of the year in 2018/19 in the Netherlands.
With his final year at the club coming last season, Ajax were sitting top of the table and in a tight race AZ Alkmaar, only ahead of them on goal difference, but the season was suspended because of the coronavirus.
Ajax were not crowned champions despite being top, meaning Ziyech did not quite the fairytale ending he had hoped for.
This leaves us at the current day, Hakim Ziyech will be hoping he can replicate the promising signs he has shown us already this season, throughout his time with Chelsea.
Could he be the player that guides Chelsea back to the Premier League trophy?