Former AFC Ajax and Real Madrid midfielder Rafael van der Vaart has urged Hakim Ziyech to leave Chelsea due to a severe lack of game time.
Ziyech joined the Blues from Ajax in the 2020 summer transfer window but has failed to cement a starting position even after over two seasons at the club. He has been restricted to just 87 appearances across all competitions for the Premier League giants in which he has scored 14 goals and assisted 10 more.
The Moroccan has been afforded just 168 minutes of first-team football so far this term. Speaking about Ziyech’s lack of regular minutes, Van der Vaart told Ziggo Sport (via Metro):
“Of course, he never really has a smiley face, but now you can see from everything that he is not having a good time. I hope he goes to a club where he can just play and not worry about anything else. Ziyech is a boy that always has to play when you get him.
The Dutchman added:
“When you get players, you buy them not only for their footballing qualities but also for how someone is.”
Ziyech was clearly not a part of former manager Thomas Tuchel’s plans and was repeatedly linked with a summer exit as well. But with the German tactician now sacked, his game time could improve under new head coach Graham Potter.
Ziyech was brought on as a substitute for the final eight minutes of Chelsea’s UEFA Champions League 1-1 draw against Red Bull Salzburg on September 14. The match was Potter’s first game in charge of the club.
Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech was linked with a return to Ajax this summer
Ziyech was widely linked with a Chelsea exit this summer, with the likes of AC Milan and Ajax said to be interested in securing his services.
The Amsterdam giants were reportedly close to completing a deal for their former winger to replace Antony, who eventually joined Manchester United. However, the deal broke down at the last minute and the Moroccan stayed put.
Interestingly, Ajax signed Antony in 2020 to replace Ziyech, who had moved to Chelsea that summer. The latter moved on after recording 49 goals and 81 assists in 165 matches across all competitions for the Dutch side between 2016 and 2020.