New Chelsea signing Hakim Ziyech can be a ‘trainer’s nightmare’ and ‘headstrong,’ according to Ajax boss Eric Ten Hag, who insists these traits help make him the player he is.
The Morocco international is joining Chelsea this summer from the Dutch champions, having won the Ajax Player of the Year for three successive seasons.
The 27-year-old is making a £33.3m switch to Stamford Bridge, a deal which was agreed in February, and Ten Hag is going to be sad to see him go, despite him not always being the easiest to work with.
‘Sometimes he is a trainer’s nightmare, but you have to give him space,’ said Ten Hag. ‘Hakim is “what you see is what you get”. You see what his emotions are doing to him today.
‘It is an emotional day for Hakim, but I hope he looks back on it in a good way.
‘He comes in as a big man at Chelsea, a top club in Europe. That is the example for the younger players here.
‘First become the best here, win titles and then take the step.
‘He is a character, headstrong. But that also makes him brilliant. He sees things that others don’t see.’
Ziyech was being handed his Player of the Year trophy in his final training session with Ajax before leaving for west London.
It has been an odd end to his Ajax career for the winger, with the move confirmed in February and the Eredivisie not played to completion due to coronavirus.
‘It feels strange, but the realisation is now that it is really the last time,’ said Ziyech.
‘I have always felt at home here. The championship, the cup win, but also the little things and the humour on the training field.
‘I’m going to miss it all. And the boys, they are not really team-mates anymore, but friends.’
The Moroccan will leave Ajax having scored 49 goals in 165 games for the club.
Ziyech will arrive with Timo Werner over the summer, with the German also agreeing a move from RB Leipzig.
Chelsea have made an impressive return from the coronavirus hiatus, beating Aston Villa and then Manchester City 2-1 to cement their fourth spot in the Premier League and challenge Leicester for third.
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