In our look at the latest Chelsea-related news stories from the media, a number of reports indicate Chelsea are close to agreeing terms with Ajax for their Moroccan winger, the Blues are also reported to be interested in a young Birmingham City midfielder and Michael Ballack assesses our upcoming Champions League clash against Bayern Munich.
These stories are samples pulled from external media sources. They do not represent the views or position of Chelsea Football Club.
Blues appear close to Ziyech deal
A number of media outlets including Sky Sports report Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Hakim Ziyech with Ajax manager Erik ten Hag admitting he expects a deal to happen for the Morocco midfielder.
The Blues were reportedly interested in signing the 26-year-old during the January transfer window and while a deal did not happen then, new reports suggest it will happen in the summer.
‘Chelsea kept working on the deal after the window closed and it is understood the Premier League club are confident an announcement will be made soon before he moves to Stamford Bridge at the end of the season,’ states Sky Sports.
‘Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf reported on Wednesday that a £38m deal had been verbally agreed between the clubs.
‘Ziyech, who plays predominantly on the right wing but can also play as a No 10, signed a contract with Ajax until 2022 in the summer. He has scored eight goals and registered 21 assists in 29 matches across all competitions for Ajax this season.’
Speaking to Fox Sports, Ten Hag indicated he was not surprised by the latest development.
‘Ziyech to Chelsea? A transfer was coming, we expected it to happen,’ said the Ajax boss.
‘And I actually already expected this one or two years earlier. And each time it was: “Wow, he stayed again”. We are just happy that we will still have him until the end of the season.’
Blues linked with Birmingham youngster Bellingham
The Sun reports Chelsea are interested in signing teenager Jude Bellingham from Birmingham City although we face strong competition for the 16-year-old from several other clubs.
Bellingham set a club record as Birmingham’s youngest ever player when he started against Portsmouth in a Carabao Cup match last August at the age of 16 years and 38 days.
Manchester United reportedly had a bid for the midfielder turned down in January and he has also been linked with several clubs in Europe including Barcelona and Real Madrid.
‘Chelsea and United are leading the charge — and prepared to pay a mind-boggling £35m for the England youth star, plus £15m in add-ons, a potential record for a 16-year-old,’ states the Sun.
‘United were prepared to offer £30 million for Bellingham – but the competition has grown to such an extent the bidding will increase.
‘Bellingham is considered the best English talent since Wayne Rooney.’
Ballack on Chelsea v Bayern
Michael Ballack has told Goal.com that Bayern Munich have the upper hand for the forthcoming Champions League clash against Chelsea but he believes the Blues’ young squad has plenty of potential and could spring a surprise.
Having played for both clubs during his career, Ballack has a keen interest in the last 16 clash which will be our first meeting in the competition since the 2012 final in Munich which the Blues won on penalties.
However, he feels the German club will prevail this time around because they have a more experienced group of players.
‘Bayern are favourites, for many reasons,’ he said. ‘Experience speaks strongly in their favour.
‘Chelsea’s transfer ban has compelled them to put their faith in young players. Their manager is new and inexperienced in his job, and that is a big advantage for Bayern.
‘The performance levels of Bayern’s players are another plus for them. They are more stable than they were last autumn.
‘Chelsea have a young team, which has the potential to explode,’ Ballack added. "They have mostly young players, a bit like Borussia Dortmund.’