A former AC Milan manager thinks the Italian giants would do well to raid Chelsea for a winger, while Roy Keane has praised his ‘big personality’ with his national team.
Chelsea could lose several big names in 2023. Midfield pair Jorginho and N’Golo Kante are both out of contract at the end of the season and could leave Stamford Bridge on free transfers.
Jorginho has consistently been linked with Italy’s biggest teams in the past few years. It is likely the 30-year-old would go back to Serie A, should that opportunity arise.
Kante, meanwhile, has been backed to go across London and sign for Chelsea’s rivals Tottenham. Perhaps the main reason for this transfer would be the potential for Kante to reunite with former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte.
Cesar Azpilicueta’s future at Chelsea is also uncertain. The defender became a target for Barcelona in the summer, but a contract extension kept the Spanish giants at bay.
Barca are expected to return for Azpilicueta in the new year and Chelsea will struggle to keep him if he reveals his desire to make the switch to Catalonia.
Another player who will probably depart Graham Potter’s squad in 2023 is wide man Hakim Ziyech. The 29-year-old has struggled for game time this campaign due to Chelsea’s fierce competition for places in attacking areas.
He has been limited to late substitute appearances in both the Premier League and Champions League, playing just nines times so far.
Chelsea man a different player at World Cup
Ziyech is currently enjoying a spell away from his Chelsea nightmare, as he is part of the Morocco World Cup squad. He has helped the North Africans reach the quarter-finals, after they finished top of Group F and beat Spain on penalties in the last 16.
During a recent interview, Keane was asked about Morocco. He went on to explain why Ziyech appears to play so much better for his national side than for Chelsea.
“Morocco have been tenacious, strong, and aggressive this tournament, sitting deep but doing well when they have the ball. They have been brilliant, and I didn’t see it coming,” Keane said (via Metro).
“Ziyech seems like a different player – it’s a different environment, sometimes players struggle at club level, but the World Cup and international football can suit other personalities better.
“He looks like a big personality for Morocco, and you don’t see that at club level for Chelsea.”
Ziyech is reportedly a target for Milan. They are looking to pounce on his uncertain Chelsea situation by completing a 2023 swoop. And a new winger might be needed if Rafael Leao goes in the other direction.
Rossoneri legend excited by potential Hakim Ziyech move
Legendary former Milan coach Arrigo Sacchi reckons Ziyech could become a fan favourite at the San Siro.
“AC Milan, good move,” Sacchi said (via This is Futbol). “Ziyech has quality, technique and speed. If he can adapt, he will become a hit. He can act in the three roles behind the striker.”
Chelsea will probably have to take a loss when letting Ziyech go. They spent around £36.6m when signing the attacker from Ajax in 2020. But given his lack of game time in recent seasons, Milan will not agree to pay this amount.
Chelsea fans probably won’t mind if the club takes a hit on Ziyech. After all, he is taking up space on the wage bill right now. And it will be good for the Blues to invest his exit fee in a younger winger with more potential.