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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Thomas Tuchel must fix Frank Lampard's Chelsea transfer issue amid Man United talk

  With Hakim Ziyech's second season in Chelsea colours almost over, it is difficult to know what to make of the winger and his positi...

 

With Hakim Ziyech's second season in Chelsea colours almost over, it is difficult to know what to make of the winger and his position in Thomas Tuchel's squad. The same could be said for most of the players he competes for a spot with in Timo Werner, Christian Pulisic, Callum Hudson- Odoi and even Kai Havertz.

Each has shown their potential in brief moments but rarely has any been able to hold down their place in the starting XI. Ziyech perhaps illustrates this point more than most. The former Morocco international had an electric pre-season showing his immense talent and ability against the likes of Arsenal and Tottenham before having an early impact with a goal against Villarreal in the UEFA Super Cup final.

A shoulder injury soon followed which left it's mark mentally as much as physically, and prevented Ziyech from having a sustained impact in the first team in the opening months. Only once this season has Ziyech made four consecutive Premier League starts and during that period he scored three times with crucial goals against Brighton, Spurs and Crystal Palace.

Chelsea's performances weren't necessarily stellar in that period but the former Eredivisie winger showed his ability to create something from nothing. Ziyech produced stunning strikes in addition to what Frank Lampard highlighted when the deal with Ajax was first announced:

"A winner there that wants to win, is angry when they lose and wants to play every week". He certainly didn't cut the happiest figure against Brighton with a muted celebration. Like most Ziyech isn't a Tuchel signing. Only three have been made since the German took charge and they are Marcus Bettinelli, Saul Niguez and Romelu Lukaku.

Thus, it can be difficult to know the place members of Chelsea's squad have in the German's mind. Certainly when Ziyech arrived at Stamford Bridge, not starting a game since defeat to Brentford at the start of April would not have been on the agenda.

His arrival was hoped to help fix a problem that has persisted at Chelsea even until this season - the ability to create clear-cut chances and good finishing consistently to make use of their possession. Lampard seemed to want Ziyech to be the crux of the attack, something that has not been the case this season. Lampard said:

“I think quality in what he’s got. In terms of the ability to make assists and score goals. We have spoken a lot this season of maybe having a lot of the ball but not the final bit. Hopefully next season he can be a player to help provide that with his quality.

With his passing, final ball and shooting. He will have to fit into the way we work here, the energy we want off the ball, as everybody does. But the quality he has got will be there for fans to see.

"I won't say unique but he has an incredible left foot and an elegance about him... I see a player that can have a big imprint on the Premier League and our team. We've at times struggled to have the finishing touch and hopefully he can help that."


Ziyech has recorded eight goals and six assists across 42 appearances this season with Reece James, Mason Mount, Kai Havertz, Timo Werner and Romelu Lukaku producing more goal contributions than the 29-year-old winger. However, there is far from a standout choice to compliment Mount and whoever Tuchel starts up front.

At 29, Chelsea would hope Ziyech is at the peak of his powers. With two matches of the season remaining, the question remains whether his abilities are suited to Tuchel's style even with the talent he has. An assist against Leeds and tempting crosses against Liverpool served as reminder that he can do things others in Chelsea's squad cannot.

However, with two years remaining on his contract, a departure may be considered with his value unlikely to increase and the chance of a new deal uncertain. The likes of Pulisic and Hudson-Odoi have youth on their side. Though perhaps Ziyech's bond with Lukaku could weigh in his favour if the Blues persist with the Belgian.

With Erik ten Hag's move to Old Trafford, Marco Van Basten has already suggested the Dutchman make a move for Ziyech, while on a television show with the Manchester United boss. Chelsea should of course be wary of any move within the Premier League, but have a history of doing business with the Red Devils with the departures of Juan Mata and Nemanja Matic

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