A deal for AFC Ajax to re-sign former midfielder Hakim Ziyech from Chelsea is ‘far away’ with the Londoners holding out for at least €44 million, according to Mike Verweij.
The Morrocco international has been strongly linked with a move away from Stamford Bridge following the arrival of Raheem Sterling, and a move to Manchester United has also been mooted.
With winger Antony almost certainly set to leave Ajax in favour of Manchester United, Ziyech would be a direct replacement as a creative right-winger, although the price tag is currently proving to be a stumbling block.
Ajax plan fresh talks for Ziyech
Ziyech is a priority for Ajax
According to Fabrizio Romano, Ajax have fresh talks planned with Chelsea as they consider the signing of Ziyech to be a priority. Their deal to sell Antony to Manchester United may even hinge on Ziyech returning to Amsterdam.
The 29-year-old joined Chelsea in the summer of 2020 for around £35million, but despite scoring some stunning goals on the way, he never truly nailed down a starting spot under Thomas Tuchel.
Ziyech Also Linked With Manchester United
Reports earlier this month suggested that Manchester United boss Erik ten Hag was keen on bringing his former midfielder to Old Trafford, although the potential signing of Antony may mean both moves are unlikely.
Ten Hag worked with Ziyech at both FC Twente and Ajax, and he was a star performer under the Dutchman during his time at the Johan Cruyff Arena, particularly during their remarkable run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019.
Erik Ten Hag souhaite recruter Hakim Ziyech à Manchester United. C'est une de ses priorités. Mais l'ailier marocain ne fait pas l'unanimité au sein du club. Ca bloque… #ManUtd #Mercato #Maroc pic.twitter.com/LXxXzPWvbJ— Nabil Djellit (@Nabil_djellit) August 3, 2022
Would Manchester United want Ziyech?
Despite the potential deal for Antony, Manchester United may still consider signing Ziyech for a number of reasons. He has played under Ten Hag at two different clubs, can slot in on the right-wing and has Premier League experience under his belt.
Ten Hag has already brought Lisandro Martinez to Manchester and could seek yet another reunion with a former player as he looks to improve Manchester United’s fortunes, with their poor start to the season causing concern amongst an already agitated fanbase.
Ziyech made 100 appearances under Ten Hag, and notched up an astonishing 35 goals and 53 assists in that time. He could prove to be a reliable, ready-made asset for the club, compared to the gamble of bringing in 21-year-old Antony for a large fee.
Would Ziyech prefer Manchester United or Ajax?
Although Ziyech enjoyed an enormously successful spell in Amsterdam, he may prefer to stay in the Premier League than make a return to the Eredivise, and joining his former boss may be more appealing than returning to his former team.
“He is a character, headstrong. But that also makes him brilliant,” Ten Hag said of Ziyech in 2020 on Ajax TV (via The Express).
“He sees things that others don’t see. Sometimes he is a trainer’s nightmare, but you have to give him space. If they start playing on their responsibility, you see the development. He took Ajax by the hand, and we were very successful together.”
With Chelsea willing to accept a substantial bid for the winger, Ziyech will certainly be on the move this window.
Like if you still believe in Hakim Ziyech.🥺💙💙 pic.twitter.com/sbgqTxJN4D— JustCaleb𓃵 (@CalebOlorogun) July 11, 2022