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Hakim Ziyech birthday - five reasons for Chelsea fans to be excited by new signing

Five reasons why Chelsea fans should be excited by Ziyech
© Reuters
As Hakim Ziyech celebrates his 27th birthday, Sports Mole suggests five reasons why Chelsea fans should be excited about their new signing.

Ever since helping Ajax to the Champions League semi-finals last season, Hakim Ziyech has been of interest to many top clubs in Europe who would have been aware that the playmaker was ready to take the next step in his blossoming career.

Although Ajax successfully fended off any enquiries for the Morocco international during the following two transfer windows, it was revealed last month that Chelsea had won the fiercely-contested race for his signature.

Securing the signature of Ziyech represents a considerable coup for the Blues, who have continued to develop under Frank Lampard despite having not made a first-team addition since the club legend's return.

On his 27th birthday, Sports Mole suggests five reasons why Chelsea fans should be excited about Ziyech's arrival later in 2020.

Return in the final third

When looking for information about their new signing, supporters of the West Londoners will naturally want to find out statistics about Ziyech's goals and assists. They will not be disappointed.

From 27 outings in the Eredivisie and the Champions League this season, Ziyech has eight goals and 16 assists to his name. While netting 46 goals from 148 appearances in all competitions since 2016, his return has got significantly better over the past two seasons.


Lampard has not been shy when it comes to changing systems in an attempt to end poor runs of form or to take the opposition by surprise. However, that should not prevent Ziyech from being a regular fixture in the team due to his versatility.

This season, he has been deployed in four different roles: central midfield, attacking midfield, right midfield and right winger. Regardless of his responsibilities in any given match, Ziyech has continued to make an impact, a trait which will only encourage Lampard to use a potential key man wherever he sees fit.


Ajax's Hakim Ziyech celebrates their third goal against Chelsea on November 5, 2019© Reuters

While Ziyech is very much a team player, he is also somewhat of a maverick who is not afraid to try the ridiculous. That trait was on show when he took centre stage for Ajax at Stamford Bridge in November, contributing one of Ajax's four goals out of nothing.

The fact that his free kick from a wide position only found the back of the net via the post and Kepa Arrizabalaga is irrelevant. There was an arrogance about the effort, but in a positive sense. Ziyech knew he had the ability to pull off an unlikely effort, and he offers something different to what Chelsea already have in their ranks.


Chelsea are not getting someone who has been gifted opportunities in the spotlight. They are getting a player who was not necessarily regarded as a standout player during the early part of his career, potentially a reason why Ziyech made the decision to switch his allegiance from Netherlands to Morocco in 2015.

While there have been opportunities to move abroad in previous years, Ziyech has been content with plying his trade in the country of his birth, enjoying successful spells with Heerenveen and FC Twente before linking up with Ajax in 2016. The respective periods gave him the chance to act as a leader both on and off the pitch, rather than being part of an array of talent in the final third, and those attributes should only benefit this young Chelsea squad in the future.

Desire and commitment

While taking the above into account, Ziyech must have felt at least a tinge of disappointment when his exploits during the 2018-19 campaign did not lead to his big chance elsewhere. Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong were able to move to Juventus and Barcelona respectively, two players much younger than Ziyech and who have not paid their dues like the now-turned 27-year-old.

In theory, that should only harden Ziyech's character ahead of representing Chelsea. He has gone about his business in a professional manner, showing world football of his capabilities, and he will now be motivated to play an instrumental part at a club who will expect to close the gap on the likes of Liverpool and Manchester City in the coming years.

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Ajax's Hakim Ziyech celebrates their third goal against Chelsea on November 5, 2019
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