Next week marks a year since Chelsea announced that Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech was joining in the summer of 2020.
After half a season in Englands top flight and form seeming to be declining, why has Ziyech struggled to adapt to life at Stamford Bridge and can he turn it around in the remainder of games under new manager Thomas Tuchel?
It has recently come to light that Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech is open to move away from Stamford Bridge this summer with Italian clubs showing interest in the player. The 27-year-old who has made just 11 appearances for the Blues this year in the league has shown little to warrant a start under new boss Thomas Tuchel and seems to be worried about his future role at the club.
After gaining some public comments from his manager it has been reported that the Moroccan wants to meet with Chelsea director Marina Granovskaia regarding his future.
"For me, it's clear he needs to adapt to this kind of football, this kind of league,” said Tuchel.
If these reports are valid, the lack of persistence and desire to want to win a consistent spot in the side can draw comparisons to the players attitude on the pitch. Against Championship side Barnsley in the FA Cup, Ziyech lost possession of the ball 25 times and looked very passive and lethargic in an underwhelming game of football which saw Tuchel’s side advance to the next stage of the competition.
Former manager Erik ten Hag highlighted the potential attitude issues Chelsea would be faced with when signing the player last summer.
"Sometimes he is a trainer's nightmare, but you have to give him space.”
Ten Haag who managed Ajax to a Champions League Semi-Final in 2019 relied heavily on Ziyech in his side and went on to say how his stubbornness has allowed him to flourish into a top-player.
"He is a character, headstrong. But that also makes him brilliant. He sees things that others don't see.”
If he is to turn around this current run of form, then the next few weeks are imperative for Ziyech as he will need to replicate his performances versus Sheffield United and Burnley from earlier in the season to reignite the trust in fans and the manager.
In November's 4-1 victory over Sheffield United at Stamford Bridge, Ziyech picked up a man of the match award after a fine performance which saw the winger pick up two assists and gained the plaudits post match.
Former Chelsea Left-back Ashley Cole stated: "I would love to play with someone with that quality. I had the pleasure to play with Lampard who used to find me in behind."
"But as soon as Ziyech opens up and gets it out on that cultured left foot, I'm making runs behind because he's got a wand of a left foot."
With a new manager arriving at Stamford Bridge and players being treated with a clean slate, it seems like Hakim Ziyech is at a crossroad in his Chelsea career and can choose which direction to go in over the coming weeks and months.
The winger is likely to start on the bench against Newcastle but will hopefully be keen to silence the doubters and prove his worth in this exciting Chelsea side who continue to seek for a top four finish.
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