Frank Lampard has had his say on Chelsea’s move for Hakim Ziyech.
It was confirmed on Thursday afternoon that the Morocco international will join the Blues from Ajax on July 1, 2020 – when the summer transfer window officially opens – for €40m (£33.4m) which could potentially increase to a maximum of €44m (£36.7m).
As a result, Ziyech will become the first significant signing of Lampard’s reign as head coach.
Unsurprisingly the Blues boss is delighted that a player of Ziyech’s quality will be part of his squad from next season and hinted at where he plans to use the attacking midfielder.
“I know his qualities,” he told Chelseafc.com. “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.”
Ziyech has mainly played from the right this season and it was from that position where he put on a creative masterclass in the aforementioned Champions League game in west London.
He provided three assists in a memorable 4-4 draw at Stamford Bridge, but can also play just behind the striker.
When Lampard has gone for a 4-2-3-1 formation this season, it has been Mason Mount who has taken up that role.
However, the England international hasn’t quite shown he’s ready for all the creative responsibility just yet and sometimes the Blues have gone with a flat midfield three of Jorginho, Mateo Kovacic and N’Golo Kante.
The imminent arrival of Ziyech will allow Lampard to be more flexible with his systems.