Former Stoke and Crystal Palace manager Tony Pulis has warned there are no guarantees that Hakim Ziyech will turn out to be a successful signing for Chelsea.
The Blues have agreed an initial €40m (£33m) fee to sign the Moroccan international in the summer, but Pulis believes that signing any player off the back of their performances in Holland is always a risk:
“I just think you’ve got to be very, very careful. For all what he’s done and what he’s achieved and if they’re spending that much money you hope and pray that you get it right, but there’s different levels and there’s different levels in respect of the European leagues.”
“The Dutch league is a good league, Ajax were fabulous last year and they’ve been good this year, a good group of players and they’ve been unbelievable in respect of bringing good players through. But the Premier League is a different animal to the Dutch league.”
You can understand where Pulis is coming from to some extent, but supporters won’t necessarily be expecting the levels of goals and assists Ziyech has contributed for Ajax in the Eredivisie.
The 26-year-old’s Champions League performances are where he has shone equally brightly. He was a key player in helping his side to the Champions League semi-finals last campaign. He managed five goals and four assists in 17 European games last season, including notable goals against Real Madrid.
It was not a one-off either, with Ziyech having scored two and contributed no less than five assists in six Champions League group stage matches this campaign. Although an adaptation period to English football will still be needed, the Moroccan has shown he can perform at the highest level already.