Premier League • England

Chelsea to axe forward with elite suitor waiting; Tuchel firm on second deal

Christian Pulisic, Mason Mount, Hakim Ziyech of Chelsea

Chelsea are poised to finally admit defeat on Hakim Ziyech who already has an elite suitor lining up in January, though Thomas Tuchel has stood firm on a second potential exit, per a report.

Ziyech, 28, arrived with high expectations in 2020. The Moroccan playmaker developed a reputation for being an assisting machine during his time with Ajax. However, indifferent form and stiff competition for places has ensured his impact with the Blues has been minimal.

As such, Sport Witness carry news from two German outlets that reveal a January exit is on the cards.

Firstly, they remind readers German newspaper Bild revealed Ziyech ‘definitely wants to leave’ Chelsea four days ago. Borussia Dortmund are credited with interest and have identified the January window as the perfect time to strike.

That is backed up by a fresh report from Sky Germany. They claim Ziyech has wilted amid the strong competition for places and as a result, Chelsea are ‘ready to loan’ him out. Whether an option to buy in the summer is in either club’s thinking is unstated in the piece.

They acknowledge a final, official decision is yet to be made. Nonetheless, the signs are certainly pointing towards a winter move. And if that scenario unfolds, Dortmund will be fronting the queue.

Dortmund’s interest in Chelsea players is nothing new. They tried to lure Callum Hudson-Odoi to Germany in the summer. However, their approach was met with stern resistance from Thomas Tuchel.

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Despite their failed attempt, it’s noted they have since initiated contact with the wide man’s camp, but Tuchel has again intervened after reassuring him he is a part of his plans.

As such, a Hudson-Odoi exit is deemed to be ‘definitely’ not happening.

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Ulterior motive behind Chelsea deal Tuchel didn’t want

Meanwhile, a damning report has claimed that Chelsea went behind Thomas Tuchel’s back with the summer capture of Saul Niguez.

The central midfielder arrived from Atletico Madrid on an initial loan. Chelsea have the ability to make his move permanent for €35m (£30m), should he impress at Stamford Bridge. However, his spell in the capital thus far has been an altogether forgettable one.

Recent reports suggest he may make a shock Chelsea exit as soon as January, with Juventus and Barcelona monitoring the situation.

Sport Witness, citing reports in the Spanish press, now give a bleak insight into Saul’s Chelsea switch. They write that Tuchel did not request the star’s arrival, noting that he already had enough quality midfielders.

Saul was in no way in the German’s plans, which partly explains why he rarely seems to feature in important games.

Despite this stance, Chelsea went ahead and took him to west London anyway. It’s remarkably claimed they did so as a ‘favour’ to Saul’s agent, Jonathan Barnett of ICM Stellar Sports, to keep up good relations.

Barnett represents former Chelsea target Jeremy Doku, suggesting the Blues could come back in for the Belgian during 2022.

READ MORE: Newcastle shoved back to ‘second row’ as Chelsea take transfer lead for midfielder