Having underwhelmed in the January transfer window, Chelsea wasted little time in preparing themselves for next season by striking a deal to sign playmaker Hakim Ziyech from Ajax.

The Blues have agreed to pay an initial €40m to bring the 26-year-old to Stamford Bridge in the summer, and that deal has already got fans talking. What does it mean for the current squad? 

When you look at Chelsea's present setup, Ziyech's arrival looks like it will have the biggest impact on both Willian and Pedro, who are both out of contract at the end of the season - but that is not necessarily the case.

Hakim Ziyech

Ziyech has recently risen to prominence as a right winger. In Erik ten Hag's Ajax system, the Moroccan starts out on the right, and his statistics -  29 goals and 45 assists in the last 18 months - suggest that he feels at home out there.

However, to call Ziyech a winger is not strictly accurate. Because of his outstanding vision and movement, Ten Hag gifts Ziyech almost unrestricted freedom on the pitch, so plenty of the Moroccan's best moments don't actually come out wide.

Time and time again, you'll see Ziyech drift into a central position to impact the entire game, and it's in that central role that he has spent the majority of his career. That is where he made his name with both Heerenveen and FC Twente.

Hakim Ziyech,Sylla Sow

Manager Frank Lampard is clearly aware of that, telling the media (via ​Goal): "He’s got a great left foot and plays generally off the right-hand side but can play behind the front man. 

"Probably when you look at us this season there have been games where we may have maybe struggled to unlock the door."

Lampard's words suggest that, while he will likely deploy Ziyech in this wide role at times, he does not see him as a traditional winger. That's fair enough really, when you consider that Ziyech does not have the electric pace that you would usually associate with a winger.

Frank Lampard

Instead, there looks to be a place for Ziyech in central midfield, rotating with Mason Mount as ​Chelsea's chief creator in the heart of the pitch. Lampard likes his midfielders to drift wide and get involved in the attack, which sounds perfect for Ziyech.

That means that, while Chelsea have added another player capable of playing on the wing, they haven't exactly strengthened out wide. When Ziyech is deployed centrally, Lampard will need wingers to complement him, so the boss will not offload both ​Willian and ​Pedro purely because of this deal.

The two veteran wide men are both out of contract at the end of the season. As it stands, Pedro looks likely to leave after struggling for minutes, while Willian is yet to agree terms despite repeatedly admitting he wants to. The future is unclear for the two right-wingers.

But that's exactly what they are - wingers.


Right now, Chelsea don't have many options there, and letting both Willian and Pedro walk could be catastrophic.

However, that's not to say that things couldn't change. Sassuolo's Jeremie Boga and ​Borussia Dortmund's Jadon Sancho are both thought to be on the radar still, and either player would pose a real threat to the two current Chelsea stars if they joined.

Willian and Pedro could still leave - the latter almost certainly should go after starting just five league games all season - but that will not be down to Ziyech.

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