Chelsea’s imminent capture of Ajax winger Hakin Ziyech in a £37.7million deal has been handed a huge thumbs up by his Morocco teammate and Wolves defender Romain Saiss.
Despite having their transfer ban reduced, Chelsea failed to bring in a new signing in January, but had been negotiating behind the scenes for Ziyech.
It now appears they are very close to signing the Moroccan attacking midfielder, with De Telegraaf claiming a €45m deal has been agreed for the summer.
The move is not official yet and there is still a chance that another club could usurp the bid, but Chelsea is reportedly Ziyech’s preferred destination, and he looks likely to have the chance to call Stamford Bridge home from the summer.
Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag has also appeared to confirm stories suggesting Ziyech is close to Chelsea – and admitted he was surprised the player did not secure a high-profile transfer already.
“A transfer was coming, we expected it to happen,” he told Fox Sports.
“I actually already expected this one or two years earlier. And each time it was: ‘wow, he stayed again’.
“We are just happy that we will still have him until the end of the season.”
Ziyech has emerged as one of the Dutch giants’ key stars during his four years at the club, and helped them reach the Champions League semi-finals last season.
And following news that an agreement to join Chelsea had been reached, Wolves star Saiss believes the Premier League is about to welcome a major talent.
He told Sport360: ‘I speak sometimes with him about his future because he deserves to play at a good club, a top league and I hope for him that soon he is going to move.
“Even if Ajax is a good club I think he can play higher and for an even bigger club.
“The fans like a player like Hakim, skilful, exciting, and I’m surprised nobody has come for him [before].
“It would be a good thing for him to play in the Premier League. It’s a good league for him.
“He did very well in the Champions League for a couple of years and I’m not surprised because he’s a good player. ‘I think he can play for most of the big teams.
“It was the same for Riyad [Mahrez] when he was at Leicester. He needed time before he moved to [Manchester] City and I think it will be the same for Hakim.”
Chelsea could sign another winger after Ziyech
Ziyech can play as an attacking midfielder, but has predominantly featured as a right winger over recent seasons – contributing eight goals and 16 assists in less than 30 appearances in this season alone.
The 26-year-old, who was born in the Netherlands, also has 32 international caps for Morocco, for whom he has scored 14 goals.
Chelsea are also said to be interested in another winger, as they are weighing up whether to re-sign Jeremie Boga from Sassuolo.
The 23-year-old is enjoying a stellar season in Serie A, having left Chelsea in the summer of 2018 – and the Blues have now made the first steps towards activating their option of first refusal on the player, who they can sign for £15m. Read more here…