Hakim Ziyech's arrival strengthening and disrupting Frank Lampard's Chelsea
Chelsea had a frustrating January transfer window, failing to bring in any new faces despite their transfer ban being lifted. All hope looked lost for the Blue fans but they had no idea that two weeks after the deadline had passed, their prayers would be answered.
The in-form Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech was signed from Ajax in February. The 27-year-old is set to move to west London in the summer once the Eredivisie season concludes, joining an exciting number of attacking options at Stamford Bridge.
Ziyech’s arrival is a huge boost for Lampard and his side as his performance in last November’s thrilling 4-4 draw with Chelsea was undoubtedly the game that caught Lampard’s eye and the one that led to Ziyech taking another big step in his career.
Since the departure of Eden Hazard, Chelsea have introduced many options, including the newly signed Christian Pulisic to take up Hazard’s throne but injuries have made his debut season sluggish.
Ziyech, on the other hand, is a very influential player wherever he goes and his stats prove it. He has eight goals and 21 assists for Ajax across all competitions, with seven goals and assists alone in the UCL.
Along with this, Ziyech has some impressive numbers when it comes to individual stats as well. Ziyech had 6.3 dribbles attempted per game, far superior to Bruno Fernandes and Riyad Mahrez, while he recorded more assists than both Nicolas Pepe and Christian Eriksen.
Ziyech’s versatility will be very crucial for Chelsea, being able to play across the pitch in different attacking roles. However, it is very evident that he prefers to play as a central attacking midfielder, often seen drifting across the pitch behind the main striker.
While Ziyech’s arrival is overwhelmingly positive for the Blues, it does pose some difficult decisions to be asked.
Chelsea will now have six attacking midfielders and wingers, providing much-needed depth and a beautiful blend of youth and experience. But with Ziyech in, someone has to be out.
Most likely to be played at the right flank, it is likely that Pedro and Willian will make way for the youngster but if either of them signs a contract extension for a year or two, it adds to the problem.
Ziyech will be a starter and that will lead to forcing someone aside. This season has seen a youth revolution for Chelsea, aiding a breakthrough for Mason Mount and increased game time for Callum Hudson-Odoi.
At 21 and 19 years old respectively, the attacking duo has a fruitful future ahead but Ziyech, again, can be a problem.He will be forcing either of the young guns out of the starting XI and into the inescapable trap of loan deals.
Lampard will be facing an excess of talent, once Ruben Loftus Cheek returns from injury as well. The Chelsea legend will have to make some challenging decisions but one thing is confirmed that this way or that, Lampard will hopefully revolutionize this Chelsea squad and hope to start challenging for the title as soon as possible.
featured image credits- the-sun.com