As Hakim Ziyech celebrates his 27th birthday today, we have revisited the first interview discussing his upcoming move to Chelsea and Frank Lampard’s thoughts on what the Moroccan international is likely to bring to Stamford Bridge…
It was announced last month that Ziyech would complete a transfer from Ajax to Chelsea this summer, with the Netherlands-born winger agreeing a five-year contract with the Blues. He will remain with the Eredivisie side for the remainder of this season and switch to London for the start of the 2020/21 campaign.
After putting pen to paper on the deal, Ziyech explained his thoughts about the move. ‘Happy, proud, I am excited and I cannot wait,’ he said.
‘Chelsea is a big club in a big competition. I like the style of play, they play really attacking football and that is something that fits me. It is one of the biggest reasons I chose therefore.’
Ziyech also detailed the part that Lampard played in convincing him to make the move.
‘A big role,’ he admitted. ‘We had a lot of contact in the last couple of weeks [before the transfer was agreed] and he gave me a good feeling. That was also big to do with the decision.’
Lampard himself has outlined the qualities he expects Ziyech to bring to his Blues team, emphasising that the group will be boosted by ‘a fantastic player who scores goals and assists.’
‘I know his qualities,’ added our head coach. ‘He’s a player we hope can bring creativity. He first came to my attention watching him play in Ajax’s Champions League run last year and I thought he was one of their standout players, particularly in the games against Tottenham.
‘This season, we’ve come up against him twice so I know a lot about him. He has a great left foot, plays generally off the right-hand side but can play in behind the frontman as well.
'When you look at us this season, there have been games where we’ve maybe struggled to unlock the door and he’s certainly a player who we hope can bring that bit of creativity.
‘He will be something different for us so we’re excited. I know he’s not coming in now but I think it’s exciting for us as a club and for the fans to know that he’ll be here next year.’