Premier League • England

Major doubts surface to leave Chelsea deal in January hanging by a thread

Hakim Ziyech, Kepa Arrizabalaga and Andreas Christensen

One suitor for Hakim Ziyech has fallen away, while another are starting to harbour multiple doubts that have thrust a Chelsea deal in January into serious doubt, per a report.

The Moroccan playmaker, 28, arrived at Chelsea with a reputation as a creative force in 2020. But since making the move from Ajax, Ziyech’s impact has been minimal.

When Thomas Tuchel has a full compliment to choose from, Ziyech rarely starts. Greater minutes on the pitch have been forthcoming in recent weeks, though were the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Timo Werner available, Ziyech would likely have remained on the bench.

With Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Christian Pulisic all options in the attacking areas, speculation has frequrntly swirled regarding a premature Ziyech exit.

Indeed, Sport Witness revealed last week that Ziyech is apparently unhappy at his lack of opportunities. Borussia Dortmund and AC Milan have drawn regular links with Ziyech, while Barcelona are an outside contender if their Ferran Torres pursuit falls short.

However, according to multiple reports in today’s press, the likelihood of Ziyech leaving next month is slim.

Firstly, Football Italia (citing Italian outlet Calciomercato) provide an update on Milan’s chase.

Chelsea going back in for Aurelien Tchouameni

Chelsea are preparing fresh talks to land long-admired midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, according to reports.

The Rossoneri want to land another attacking talent, but it is ‘unlikely’ to be Ziyech. Instead, they will turn their attentions to Brest’s Romain Faivre.

AC hold warm relations with Chelsea having bought Olivier Giroud and Fikayo Tomori over the summer. However, Ziyech won’t be joining the ex-Blues in Milan this winter.

Dortmund take Ziyech lead, but doubts emerge

Instead, it’s stated Borussia Dortmund are now in ‘pole position’, but reports from Germany cast doubt on that pursuit too.

German newspaper Bild confirm Ziyech is Dortmund’s ‘primary’ target next month. A loan move with an option to buy would be to their liking.

However, Sport1 state Dortmund harbour doubts regarding Ziyech’s fit from both playing style and personality standpoints.

Additionally, they report Ziyech in fact remains ‘happy’ at Chelsea and will stay until at least next summer.

That could be music to the ears of Tuchel. The Blues boss was reported to have overruled Chelsea chief Marina Granovskaia when Ziyech and another forward’s exit were put to him earlier in December.

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Liverpool deal could sway Real off Rudiger swoop

Meanwhile, a Liverpool centre-back has emerged as a target for Carlo Ancelotti’s Real Madrid in a move that could help Chelsea to keep Antonio Rudiger, per a report.

Rudiger, 28, is in the final year of his contract at Stamford Bridge. The German has been heavily tipped to sign a pre-contract agreement with Los Blancos next month. Doing so would tee up a free agent exit next summer.

However, Chelsea retain hope of convincing Rudiger to stay. And according to the Daily Mail, Real have identified Liverpool’s Joe Gomez as an alternative target.

The 24-year-old has rarely featured at Anfield this campaign despite a clean bill of health following a season-ending tendon injury last November.

However, Klopp’s recent comments suggested Gomez remains in his plans and a January loan exit will not be sanctioned. But per the Daily Mail, Real Madrid are eyeing a more permanent move ‘next summer’.

They state Real will ‘monitor’ Gomez during the second half of the season. If he impresses, a summer approach could be lodged.

Should Rudiger resist signing a pre-contract agreement next month, Real’s attentions could turn to Gomez next summer. In that scenario, Chelsea may be able to keep their fan favourite for the long-term.

READ MORE: Tuchel finally receives good news with looming Chelsea crisis set to ease