Chelsea’s capture of Hakim Ziyech has been heralded by Jamie Carragher – but the Sky Sports pundit reckons time could be up for two long-serving Blues attackers as a result.
The Blues announced on Thursday they had agreed a deal for the £33.3million summer signing of Ziyech from Ajax, with the assist machine likely to offered a four-year contract when he joins the club on July 1.
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.
He’s expected to agree terms on a deal worth around £100,000 a week – double the salary he was earning with the Dutch giants – and also arriving with the tag as Frank Lampard’s first signing as Blues manager.
Carragher claims it was well known that Lampard was looking to add new faces to his wide areas, especially after the exit of Eden Hazard last summer, but reckons two more men could soon be on their way as a result of Ziyech’s arrival.
“I think what these moves tell you straight away is that Chelsea are desperate for wide players,” Carragher told Sky Sports.
“With Pedro, who hasn’t played much, and Willian, and the age they’re at, plus the fact Willian gets linked away from Chelsea at every window, something might happen with these two in the summer.
“So wide players are the big thing Chelsea are looking for.”
Discussing what Ziyech will bring to Chelsea, Carragher continued: “Ziyech was outstanding last season in the Champions League, and was a player I thought Liverpool may look at as well, someone who can play both sides as potential back-up for Sadio Mane or Mo Salah.
“I think it was obvious that Frank Lampard wasn’t happy with what happened in the January transfer window, so they’re looking to get some business done early.”
Ziyech has laid on more than 20 goals in each of the last three seasons, already teeing up 21 at Ajax this term.
Romain Saiss heralds Ziyech signing
And following news that an agreement to join Chelsea had been reached, Wolves star Romain 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.”
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 re-signing Jeremie Boga from Sassuolo, though their path to him may not be as straight forward as initially made out after it emerged they could face strong competition from a European powerhouse.