With Ajax & Chelsea agreeing a deal that will see Ziyech move to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season, we take a look at how the Moroccan could fit into Frank Lampard’s Chelsea.
Ziyech is a fantastic footballer that has performed well at each of his Eredivisie clubs, from SC Heerenveen where he came through the youth academy to FC Twente where he established himself as one of Dutch football’s hottest prospects and finally Ajax, where last season he truly announced himself as one of the top attacking midfielders in European football.
In Erik Ten Haag’s Ajax side that usually lines up in a 4-2-1-3 and plays a vertical tiki taka style, Ziyech has predominantly lined up on the right flank but inspriation from Johan Cruyff’s Total Football model see’s players interchange positions freely, which has made Ziyech a very versatile player where he frequently switches with Dusan Tadic, Donny van de Beek and David Neres or Quincy Promes.
Last season’s Champions League was Ziyech’s breakout campaign at the top level of European football and since the start of that campaign, he’s created chances on a level to some of the best players in Europe, including Real Madrid’s Toni Kroos, Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and has created more chances than Europe’s leading creator, Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne.
But for Frank Lampard’s Chelsea, if he persists with the 4-3-3 we could see Ziyech mostly in his preferred position on the right flank but if the situation arises, in a midfield trio with Jorginho and N’Golo Kanté to provide an extra spark.
What could be interesting however is if Ziyech’s arrival prompts Lampard to persist with the 3-4-2-1, the same system used by Antonio Conte when he won the 2016/17 Premier League with Chelsea. The system is not only great defensively, but offers a real counter attacking and counter pressing threat. What’s more is it’s the system that’s been used by Chelsea’s youth academy recently, which could make transitioning talented youngsters like Billy Gilmour, Conor Gallagher and Luke McCormick into the first team to join fellow graduates, Tammy Abraham, Mason Mount, Reece James, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Fikayo Tomori.
Hakim Ziyech is a fantastic footballer and a great signing. He’ll also go a long way to replacing Eden Hazard’s creativity after the Belgian moved to Real Madrid to link up with Zinedine Zidane in the summer. In fact Ziyech’s averaged for chances created over the past two seasons is more than Hazard’s seasonal best in terms of chances created.
But what do you guys think? Will Hakim Ziyech be a success at Chelsea?