Hakim Ziyech has admitted he has struggled at times since joining Chelsea
With the January transfer window fast approaching, teams will be casting an eye out on where they can strengthen and improve as they gear up for the final months of the season.
Chelsea will be no different, as they look to not only regain the UEFA Champions League but to wrestle the Premier League away from Manchester City.
Though the Blues will be looking to add one or two pieces, they will also be fighting off suitors for some of their star players, in particular Hakim Ziyech.
Ziyech has had mixed success since arriving at Stamford Bridge in the summer of 2020.
His signing came on the back of excellent performances for Dutch side Ajax in the Champions League, reaching the semi-finals and losing to Tottenham Hotspur in the last minute.
Ziyech’s composure on the ball and eye for a pass saw him stand out in a team full of potential world-class stars, from Frenkie de Jong to Matthijs de Ligt.
With an eye for goal as well, Chelsea was getting a well-rounded attacker capable of game-changing moments on a consistent basis.
However, Ziyech has somewhat failed to hit those heights since reaching the Premier League and has struggled to fully adapt to everything England’s top-flight has to throw at the more technical players in the league.
His struggles are something he has admitted, telling football.london back in November: “I have had some hard times behind me, I haven’t really recovered fully from it.
“I work every day hard on it. I always believed in myself and things what I can do on the pitch.”
He said this in a game where he scored the only goal of the match in a 1-0 win in Europe, says a lot about how good he really is and the high standards he sets himself.
“I know what I can do and where my highest level is,” he added.
“I had a tough time with injuries and finding my level again. I have struggled to get into a rhythm again but you have to work hard for it.”
Working hard he is and it’s clear to see when a club the size of Barcelona come calling.
While they may not be what they once were, the Catalan giants are still one of the best in the world when it comes to spotting talent and have seemingly fixed their glare on the Moroccan international.
So where does Man City and Pep Guardiola fit into all of this?
Ferran Torres, City’s Spanish attacker, is also a target for Barcelona but with the Manchester club playing hardball, new Barca manager Xavi may have to turn to his plan b in the form of Ziyech.
Though Blues boss Thomas Tuchel is rumoured to want to keep Ziyech, letting him go may be the best for all involved.
The 28-year-old is aware that he hasn’t set the world on fire in the 18 months he has been at the club and while it isn’t a move to Spain, has said he would ‘love’ to return to Ajax ‘one day.’
Ajax and Barcelona are intertwined in terms of philosophy, principles both on and off the pitch and style of play and it wouldn’t be a stretch to say Ziyech may suit the pace and flow of La Liga compared to the Premier League.
Tuchel will never come out and say he wants to let the attacker leave but if Barca comes calling with a sensible offer, Ziyech could be adding garnet to the blue he currently wears.