‘Looking back now, I am happy it didn’t happen’: Hakim Ziyech relieved that moves to Arsenal and Barcelona collapsed in 2017 so he could help Ajax to the Champions League semi-final before sealing his Chelsea switch
- Hakim Ziyech joined Chelsea in a £38m move from Ajax in the summer window
- He has taken some time to settle after struggling with a minor knee issue
- But now fit again, there is nowhere else the 27-year-old would rather be
Hakim Ziyech says he is glad a proposed move away from Ajax in 2018 collapsed because it allowed him to improve before joining Chelsea two years later.
The Morocco forward made his Blues debut in last week’s 3-3 draw with Southampton following a £38million move back in February.
Ziyech has previously admitted Barcelona and Arsenal were his two ‘ultimate’ dreams but back in 2018 he was set to join Roma.
Hakim Ziyech is relishing the beginning of life at Chelsea after overcoming a fitness issue
The winger said he is pleased that previous moves away from Ajax didn’t go through
The 27-year-old could have joined Arsenal or Barcelona but is now making his way for Chelsea
Fortunately for Frank Lampard’s side, the transfer fell through and Ziyech remained in Amsterdam for two more years.
‘Two years ago I almost moved somewhere else but it didn’t happen. For myself, looking backwards now, I’m happy I didn’t because from that moment I had an incredible journey with Ajax as well,’ the 27-year-old said.
‘An amazing time, I improved a lot on the highest stage in Europe and this summer was the time to move on, to step up and I’m really happy I had the last two years at Ajax and I think the last two years improved me a lot – not only as a person, but also as a footballer.’
Ziyech was later followed to England by former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek, who joined Manchester United for £40million.
The pair could meet in this weekend’s Premier League clash between the two sides but so far Van de Beek has struggled for game time under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Ziyech spoke to the 23-year-old when he moved to England and now urged his former team-mate to remain calm.
Ziyech was a key member of the Ajax team that made the 2019 Champions League semi-final
Ziyech believes his former team-mate Donny van de Beek will come good at Man United
‘We spoke in the beginning when he moved to Manchester and in the last weeks we didn’t speak a lot and I also didn’t speak to him about his situation,’ Ziyech said.
‘I think he’ll need time as well, you come from a different country, different style of play and I know for sure it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything and then I know for sure he’ll bring quality to the squad over there.
‘For him the most important right now is to stay calm.’
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