The Moroccan could be a mover in the winter transfer window considering his decreased game-time.
Hakim Ziyech broke onto the scene as a nimble winger at Ajax, whom he joined in 2016. The Moroccan was a cornerstone of Ajax’s successful 2018-19 season when they made it to the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. In 2020, Ziyech moved to Chelsea for a reported fee of €40m (€44m with add-ons).
But, despite his best efforts, Ziyech hasn’t been able to hit the dizzying heights he reached with Ajax since joining the Blues and has been overlooked in Thomas Tuchel’s tactics. Ziyech has scored only six goals and provided three assists in 39 games in all competitions. Therefore, the Moroccan is nowhere near breaking into a frontline containing the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Timo Werner, Kai Havertz and Mason Mount.
As such, the January transfer window provides the 28-year old an opportunity to move elsewhere to rediscover his magical touch. We look at five clubs who could benefit from signing the Moroccan:
5. Istanbul Basakshehir
Although it would be a step down for a player of his talent and potential, Hakim Ziyech could look to Turkey if game-time is what he is after. Ziyech would walk straight into the Istanbul Basakshehir squad.
He could be a catalyst for the capital outfit’s resurgence. Basakshehir endured a chastening 2020-21 season, finishing in a lowly 12th place. This season, they are currently loitering in the 14th spot in the league. Therefore, Ziyech could be a star addition to their ranks and help lift them back to the heights of their Champions League heydays.
4. Fenerbahce SK
Another Turkish club that would be apt for Hakim Ziyech is Fenerbahce. Fenerbahce came agonizingly close to winning the title last season falling short of rivals Besiktas by two points.
The Istanbul-based outfit have started well this season. They are currently three points off top spot in the table, ahead of their local rivals Besiktas, Galatasaray (both by two points) and Istanbul Basakshehir (by 10 points).
Fenerbahce, though, currently have only one point in two games in their Europa League group. Therefore, should they qualify out of their group, Ziyech would be a great addition to their attack. It would also give him an opportunity to team up with Mesut Ozil and add more firepower to the club’s creative talents.
3. AS Monaco
AS Monaco are currently 10th in Ligue 1 having finished third last season. They ended up only five points behind champions Lille. Therefore, their attack boasts a great mix of youth and talent.
The inclusion of Hakim Ziyech would add more firepower and options to Monaco. He would add more creative talent along with the existing riches of Cesc Fabregas and Alexander Golovin. Ziyech could slot well in any attack-minded formation at the club.
Lazio would be an ideal destination for Hakim Ziyech. The Moroccan would benefit a lot from Maurizio- Sarri’s possession-based system. Despite lesser game-time, Ziyech’s stats from last season stand him well among the current forward players for Lazio.
Last season, Ziyech’s xG+xA (expected assists) ratio of 0.43 (per 90) was higher than Sergej Milinkovic-Savic, one Lazio’s primary creative sources. His goals+assists ratio per 90 minutes last season stood at 0.38, the same as Luis Alberto, considered the metronome of Lazio’s attack.
Ziyech also completed 86.1% of his short passes, which would have ranked him just behind Luis Alberto and ahead of Pedro and Milinkovic-Savic. Therefore, the Moroccan would be a perfect creative addition to Lazio’s attack that also boasts the prolific Ciro Immobile. He perfectly fits Maurizio Sarri’s 4-3-3 system. It was the formation in which he had his best season at Ajax in 2018-19.
1. Newcastle United
Newcastle United’s recent takeover has made the Tyneside club the richest in the world. Every single player under the sun is currently being linked to them.
But, Hakim Ziyech would prove to be a shrewd early signing for the new owners. The Moroccan would be an exciting addition to the likes of Allan Saint-Maximin, Miguel Almiron and Joe Willock. His ball-playing ability and the creative talent around will surely strengthen Newcastle’s attack manifold.
His acquisition could also hopefully herald the start of many more great and savvy signings under the new regime.