The winger is hungry to join the Italian club to get his career back on track.
AC Milan is looking to sign Hakim Ziyech from Chelsea in the ongoing transfer window. The winger is edging closer to a move away from the Premier League. He came to England with a lot of anticipation from the Dutch Eredivisie where he was playing for AFC Ajax. Since making the move, Ziyech has not been able to show his talent due to a lack of game time with the Blues.
Plenty of issues came to the surface during his first two seasons with Chelsea. The majority of those struggles was a lack of gametime. Perhaps Thomas Tuchel saw Ziyech as a figure still struggling to adjust to the pace of the Premier League. On top of the fewer playing opportunities, Ziyech’s injuries kept him on the sidelines. The player was also dropped from the Morocco national team, however, there is more to that story altogether.
When it comes to the 2022-23 season which is just a few weeks away, it holds new opportunities for Hakim Ziyech. AC Milan are positive about the negotiations with Chelsea and a deal is looking likely. Since the move is close to completion, here is a look at why the former Ajax player is perfect for the Serie A outfit:
A creative outlet
Hakim Ziyech is sensational when it comes to technical brilliance over the ball. He is adept at ball distribution, playing quick-passing football, and has the tendency to find the penetrating pass to break down low blocks of the opposition. His vision makes him a dangerous operator and AC Milan could benefit from having a creative outlet such as Ziyech in the squad.
Despite making just 23 appearances in the league, the winger created nine big chances for the squad. He recorded 1.3 key passes per game but a lack of gametime was a factor here. The 29-year-old’s pass success rate came out at 81%, which is a decent number for an attacking player. These signs are positive for AC Milan who will bring in a creative player if they recruit him.
More playing time
A major issue for Hakim Ziyech at Chelsea was the lack of gametime. He seems to be out of favour with current boss Thomas Tuchel. The German tactician fields either Mason Mount or Kai Havertz in the playmaker role. The former Ajax winger found a place in the starting lineup hard to come by under the manager.
Since the links to AC Milan came to the surface, Ziyech had a spring in his step during the pre-season training. The winger is clearly raring to sign and make a fresh start. To have a player who is hungry to contribute would produce fabulous results for the Serie A champions.
A suitable league
Hakim Ziyech is the kind of player that likes to have more time on the ball. His intricate passing gameplay is more suitable for competitions that allow the game on a slower pace. However, the Premier League does not allow any extra time on the ball since it is quick and physical.
As a competition, the Italian Serie A is less intense but very technical. The majority of the clubs are defensively sound and the attackers generally get more time on the ball. This is where Ziyech is perfect for AC Milan and could be lethal from the right flank. His tendency to cut inside to take a shot or to find a player in a good position could break defences as a hot knife goes through butter.
Retaining the title
AC Milan won the Italian Serie A last season after a gap of 12 years. It was a huge achievement for a historical club that went through a huge period of struggle. Trying to topple Juventus and remove their stranglehold on the league while also competing against a resurging Inter Milan was a tough task. However, the club finally finished on top of the league during the 2021-22 season and now enters the new season as reigning champions.
The expectations will be high and repeating the feat is even tougher. Becoming champions and staying as champions takes immense effort and a quality team. Hakim Ziyech’s arrival will provide an overall boost to the roster. It will also add more competition for places. Someone like Brahim Diaz could face direct competition for a starting place from Ziyech and that always brings out the best in individuals.
A cheap solution
AC Milan’s interest in Hakim Ziyech is not new. The Serie A outfit were interested in the player but his five-year contract at Chelsea and a steep transfer fee were obstacles in their pursuit of him. However, as the situation has progressed, the Blues will be open to a move for a fee in the region of £33m, recouping their initial investment for the player.
The player’s willingness to join makes him perfect for the club as he could agree to a pay cut. As far as reports coming out of England and Italy are concerned, the negotiations are heading towards a loan deal with an option to buy. This will benefit all the parties involved.