According to the Evening Standard, Newcastle United have been dealt a major blow in their bid to sign Moroccan World Cup star Hakim Ziyech, with Chelsea unwilling to sell the 29-year-old winger to Newcastle, who they now see as Premier League rivals following their recent rise ever since the Saudi-led takeover of the club.
Since Todd Boehly’s arrival as Chelsea’s owner last year, the Blues have been aggressive in the transfer market and have blown the football economics out of the water with sheer free spending. In terms of attacking reinforcements alone, they signed Raheem Sterling and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang during the summer window.
In January, they strengthened their frontline further with the additions of Joao Felix, Mykhaylo Mudryk, David Datro Fofana, and Noni Madueke. With 22 goals in their first 20 Premier League games, it’s clear to see why they’ve been seeking creativity up front. No other team in the top half has been as ineffective in front of goal as they have been this season.
Now, Graham Potter has a plethora of offensive firepower at his disposal. In turn, though, Chelsea will almost certainly have to bid farewell to some of their existing options. Christian Pulisic, Kai Havertz, and even Sterling have all been linked with moves away from Stamford Bridge.
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Another player whose future is up in the air is Hakim Ziyech. Since arriving from Ajax in 2020, the Moroccan international has struggled to perform up to expectations. He has only managed to score 14 goals from 98 games for the club, which is a far cry from his record of 49 goals from 165 games at Ajax.
That being said, the 29-year-old has enjoyed a run in Graham Potter’s first team since returning from the World Cup, but those starts are largely down to the injury issues and suspensions in the squad.
Nevertheless, the former Ajax star is open to leaving Stamford Bridge this month if the right opportunity arrives on the table, and his fine form of late has seen interest in his services increase, with Eddie Howe’s Newcastle United considering a loan deal to boost their Champions League bid.
Chelsea have been reported to be ready to offload Ziyech, but they may not sanction a move to a top-four rival, with Newcastle certainly falling into that category. The Magpies are currently third in the league, with only one defeat this season; selling a top player like Ziyech would seriously jeopardise Chelsea’s hopes of catching them in the race for Champions League football next season.
This comes as a significant blow as far as Newcastle’s January transfer plans are concerned. The Magpies are closing in on the signing of Everton’s Anthony Gordon at the moment, and while the negotiations are progressing well, Newcastle will be ready to walk away from any deal if Everton doesn’t lower their £60 million asking price.
Ziyech is believed to be their backup option in case a deal with Everton falls through. However, with Chelsea ready to block any rival approaches for their prized asset, they will either have to go all in for Gordon or realign their radars elsewhere in pursuit of backup alternatives.