AC Milan are pressing ahead with their interest in Hakim Ziyech after he was thrown to the fringes by Thomas Tuchel at Chelsea.
Ziyech was one of a number of high-profile signings Chelsea brought in last summer in a statement of intent. The approach did not quite pay off in the Premier League, but they did end the season with Champions League glory. Despite that success, they could make more alterations to their squad this summer.
Reports earlier this month suggested that Ziyech was officially up for sale, just one year after his arrival. The Moroccan managed just two Premier League goals from his debut season and missed parts of the campaign through injury.
Since then, Milan have emerged as a prime suitor for the 28-year-old’s signature. They have already signed Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea and could go down that route again.
With Hakan Calhanoglu on his way to rivals Inter on a free transfer, Milan need to find a replacement. Ideally, they would like a player who can play as either a winger or a central attacking midfielder.
Ziyech is capable of performing in both of those roles, and his frustrations at Chelsea could give Milan an opportunity. A move to Serie A would be a new lease of life for the former Ajax star.
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According to Gazzetta Dello Sport, Milan remain very much interested in Ziyech. Aware that he is “on the sidelines of Tuchel’s project”, they are willing to offer him an escape route.
However, the financial aspects of the deal could prove problematic. Chelsea paid €40m to sign Ziyech and do not want to lose too much money, putting a permanent move out of reach.
Thus, Milan will try to sign Ziyech on loan with an option to buy the following summer. Furthermore, they will require Chelsea to cover some of his €6m-per-season salary. Milan may only be able to contribute €2m towards that.
But if Tuchel has no place in his plans for the attacking midfielder, it may make sense for them to go their separate ways. Whether Chelsea will agree with the Milan solution is a decision for director Marina Granovskaia.
Chelsea identify striker plan B
Meanwhile, Chelsea will also be thinking about further signings of their own. One priority is to acquire a centre-forward more reliable than another 2020 investment, Timo Werner.
Erling Haaland is one of their main targets, but the Borussia Dortmund man has never seemed as receptive to their offers. Indeed, it is now claimed that he has agreed terms with another club.
Therefore, the Blues will have to find an alternative – and they appear to have done so.
According to reports in Spain, they are interested in someone who impressed in last season’s Europa League as their Haaland plan B.