Ajax manager Erik ten Hag has all but confirmed Hakim Ziyech’s £38 million move to Chelsea and expressed surprise the Moroccan didn’t leave the club sooner.
Chelsea have agreed a fee with Ajax for the winger having seen an offer for the 26-year-old rejected in January.
They continued negotiations amid interest in Ziyech from other clubs and expect to confirm an agreement within the coming days.
Ziyech had a release clause of £25 million last summer but this was removed when he agreed an improved contract with Ajax, who wanted him to remain with them until the summer.
Should the deal be finalised, Ziyech would become Frank Lampard’s first signing as Chelsea manager having been prohibited by a transfer embargo last summer.
“And I actually already expected this one or two years earlier. And each time it was: ‘Wow, he stayed again’’.”
“We are just happy that we will still have him until the end of the season.’
Ziyech has been outstanding for Ajax, scoring 48 goals and contributing 82 assists in 159 matches for the Amsterdam club, including eight goals and 21 assists this season.
He was excellent in their run to the semi-finals of last season’s Champions League, where they suffered an agonising exit to Tottenham.
It was expected that Ziyech would leave Ajax last summer but in the end only Frenkie de Jong and Matthijs de Ligt were sold, to Barcelona and Juventus respectively.
In his remaining time with Ajax, Ziyech will help them in their Eredivisie title defence – they currently top the table, three points clear of AZ Alkmaar – and in the Europa League.
Ajax also progressed to the semi-finals of the Dutch Cup on Wednesday night with a 3-0 win at Vitesse Arnhem. – Daily Mail.