Little over 12 months has passed since Hakim Ziyech arrived at Stamford Bridge and yet his future in west London is already being called into question.
While it seems utter lunacy to cut ties with a £34m signing just because he failed to hit the ground running during his first season in England, you’d be hard pushed to argue that Chelsea would be wrong to sell the Moroccan this summer.
Not only does there seem to be plenty of potential suitors for Ziyech meaning they’d be able to recoup a decent chunk of the money they paid for him – with Olivier Giroud recently admitting he’d love Milan to secure a deal for the winger – his debut Premier League season did nothing to suggest he’s going to thrive on these shores.
Admittedly Ziyech’s 2020/21 campaign was disrupted my a number of niggling injuries, yet he still managed to record 39 appearances in all competitions and quite frankly looked disinterested at times.
Thomas Tuchel is clearly keen to afford the 28-year-old a second chance this season having started him in Chelsea’s two outings in the Mind Series tournament, and his most recent appearance of the two against Tottenham on Wednesday night was the best indication yet that he could yet have a future at the club.
Playing alongside Kai Havertz just off frontman Timo Werner, the former Ajax man ran the show for much of the first half and just proved too clever and too nimble for the Spurs midfield to cope with.
Ziyech’s link-up play with Marcos Alonso down the Chelsea left was excellent all game and with just 15 minutes gone he handed his side the lead.
After N’Golo Kante had done well to win the ball in midfield, Ziyech picked up possession and started to drive towards the Spurs defence. Clearly undeterred by the Morocco international’s advances, Eric Dier continued to back off allowing the Chelsea man to fire an unstoppable long-range effort into the bottom corner.
Affording Ziyech the chance to open his account for the evening was the worst thing Spurs could possibly have done, and from then on there was an evident swagger and confidence to his play.
Ably supplied by Kante and Mateo Kovacic, Ziyech’s ability to pick up pockets of space as well as stretching the play in behind caused Tottenham no end of problems, and it wasn’t long before he doubled his and Chelsea’s tally for the evening.
Again linking up with Alonso on the left, the Moroccan drifted infield to latch onto the Spaniard’s cut back before finding the back of the net via a deflection.
The visitors’ torment was eventually brought to an end as Tuchel rang the changes in the second half and Ziyech was replaced by Tammy Abraham, but by this point the winger had long since made his mark on the clash.
We know it’s only a pre-season friendly and, if we’re being honest, Spurs were pretty rubbish despite battling back to earn a draw, but this was the first display from Ziyech where he actually looked like he wanted to be a Chelsea player, and now he’s had a year to settle in England we might just be about to see the best of him.