Hakim Ziyech has spoken of where he sees himself fitting into Chelsea’s attacking plans as he continues to work towards full fitness, while also urging former Ajax team-mate Donny van de Beek to remain calm at Manchester United despite a lack of playing time.
Having established himself as one of Europe’s top attackers during his time in the Netherlands, Ziyech saw the Blues swoop to secure his services in a £33 million ($43m) deal following a transfer ban.
The Morocco international was subsequently joined by other high-profile signings such as Kai Havertz and Timo Werner at Stamford Bridge, although the latter pair have seen far more game time due to Ziyech having been contending with injuries.
Asked to comment on when he will be back to full fitness, the 27-year-old told the press: “For me it can’t come soon enough, but if you think realistically I’ve been out for a while, the season stopped early for me last year, so I didn’t play for a while as well.
“The injury came at an unlucky time, so for me it’s now important just to get rhythm back and build up everything again. I know it will take some time, but for me it couldn’t be soon enough.
“It is what it is right now, it’s most important for me to build and get to 100 per cent fitness, and that’s what we’re working to do.”
Asked what position he is likely to take up, the versatile attacker added: “Two different options, maybe three, depending on where the coach needs me. For me it doesn’t matter where I am playing, I just love to play the game, and it doesn’t matter where.”
Another former Ajax man has also found playing time hard to come by in the Premier League, with Manchester United’s summer signing Van de Beek having spent most of his time warming the bench at Old Trafford despite a big-money move.
Ziyech is unconcerned, however, and feels it will take time for the Netherlands international to fully adjust to his new surroundings before showing fans what he is truly capable of.
“We spoke in the beginning when he moved to Man United, but we didn’t speak about his situation,” Ziyech said. “I think he will need time as well, he’s come from a different country, a different style of play.
“And I know for sure it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there.
“For him the most important thing now is to stay calm.”