Hakim Ziyech has spoken of his pride after Chelsea announced the Moroccan winger had agreed terms on a five-year contract ahead of his summer move to Stamford Bridge.
Ziyech will officially join the Blues on July 1 for an initial fee of €40million (£33.4m) and will remain at Ajax for the remainder of the season.
It was announced earlier this month that Chelsea had reached a deal with the Dutch club for Ziyech’s signature. He is Frank Lampard’s first signing as Blues boss.
“I am delighted and proud to have signed for such a huge club as Chelsea,” Ziyech told the club’s website, who is reported to have agreed terms on a deal worth £100,000 a week – double the salary he is on with the Dutch champions.
“I am looking forward to next season and hope we can achieve great things together.”
Ziyech has laid on more than 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, and has scored 49 times for the Dutch side.
He is viewed as a replacement for Eden Hazard, who left for Real Madrid last summer.
Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia added: “We are delighted Hakim will be joining us, having been a key target of the club’s in this last window.
“He has consistently been one of the most dangerous attacking players in Europe in recent years, which we saw first-hand in our two games against Ajax in the Champions League.
“We wish Hakim and Ajax all the best for the rest of the season and look forward to welcoming him to Stamford Bridge in the summer.”
Speaking earlier this month, Blues manager Lampard has underlined the qualities that attracted Chelsea to Ziyech.
“I think he’s a fantastic player and first came onto my eye line in their run in the Champions League last year,” Lampard told Sky Sports News. “I thought he was one of their standout players, of course – particularly in the games against Tottenham, watching him play.
“And then we’ve come up against him twice this season. I know a lot about him, I know his qualities: a great left foot, plays generally off the right-hand side, can play in behind the frontman.
“And probably when you look at us this season there have been games where we have maybe struggled to unlock the door, and he’s certainly a player that we hope can bring that bit of creativity, something different for us, scores goals, assists.
“So, excited. I know he’s not coming now but I think it’s exciting for us as a club and for the fans, they know that he’ll be here next year.”
Some eyebrows may be raised about why Chelsea waited until after the January transfer window to complete the signing of Ziyech, but Lampard confirms that he had to respect the selling club.
“We tried, and it wasn’t possible, we all know how the January window works. You respect that clubs have top players and want to keep them, and that was the case. But that’s done, and now we have him for next season, so yeah, pleased with that.”
Ziyech the first of many for Chelsea?
Asked whether Ziyech would be the first of many new signings in the summer, Lampard insisted his focus was purely on the present, as the team look to book their place in next season’s Champions League.
“I don’t know. I think we have to worry first about where we’re at, and trying to come in the top four is of course the massive priority for us. My main concern is that.
“We’re always on the lookout, we’re always working together to try and see how we can improve, and I think those improvements could be needed maybe in the summer, but we’ll have to try and make sure we get the right ones.”
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