Marco Fernandes explains why Hakim Ziyech would be a fantastic player for the Reds to target instead of Nabil Fekir.
It’s no secret that Liverpool’s transfer priority was to sign a playmaker to help unlock opposition defences and with Liverpool’s move for Nabil Fekir failing to materialise, here is my take on why Hakim Ziyech of Ajax Amsterdam might just be the answer in the search for a no.10.
The 25-year-old Moroccan international currently plies his trade in the Dutch Eredivisie with Ajax Amsterdam. Ziyech is coming off an impressive 2017/18 league campaign in which he made 34 appearances while scoring 9 goals and managing 15 assists – this form saw him top the league for assists.
Ajax finished second in the Eredivisie, just four points shy of champions PSV and Ziyech’s efforts were recognised as he was voted by de Godenzonen supporters as the Ajax Player of the Season in a supporters’ poll. He was also chosen to be a part of the Morocco World Cup squad by head coach Herve Renard.
Strengths and style of play
Ziyech mainly operates as an attacking midfielder but can also play in a normal central midfielder position as well as play on the left wing which could provide some additional depth to Liverpool’s attacking options.
He possesses good vision that allows him to make accurate passes and through balls to his teammates. The Moroccan playmaker created a total of 133 chances last season which was the most at Ajax. Ziyech is also a very pacy player which is accompanied with his good dribbling ability that helped him to an average of 58.14% successful take-ons last season.
Much like Fekir, he is good at taking set pieces and is capable of striking a ball from free-kick situations as well as possessing the ability to score from long shots – 6 of his 9 league goals in the 2017/18 Eredivisie season came from outside the box.
One of Ziyech’s major weaknesses is his strength as he struggles to hold onto the ball at times and this would have to improve if he ever came to the Premier League.
His lack of strength makes him struggle to win his aerial duels. Stats from the 17/18 season show that he only won 28.57 % of his aerial duels last season and struggled to win the ball back from opponents which is important for a Klopp player.
Ziyech’s current transfer value, according to Transfermarkt, is sitting at €22.5 million and as per ESPN, the player has expressed his desire to leave Ajax. The club has accepted the player’s wishes and already signed his replacement in the form Southampton’s Dusan Tadic.
The player has been liked with Liverpool, Roma and Everton for some time but none of the above-mentioned clubs have pursued a deal for the player just yet.
If Liverpool were to make a move for the player, it’s no doubt the deal would go smoothly as Ajax are prepared to sell him and the player would cost significantly less than a deal for Nabil Fekir.