Erik ten Hag gives thoughts on Hakim Ziyech’s Chelsea situation after private chat

Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag has spoken of his “bond for life” with Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech, who has been linked with a summer move away from Stamford Bridge.

Ten Hag and Ziyech enjoyed a fruitful spell together at Ajax, where they came within seconds of reaching the Champions League final in 2019. The Moroccan stayed beyond that season while the likes of Matthijs de Ligt and Frenkie de Jong moved on, though he eventually left for Chelsea in 2020.

Ziyech has been in and out of the Chelsea team this season, and was on the verge of leaving in January before a move to Paris Saint-Germain collapsed. He was seen chatting with Ten Hag on Thursday after Chelsea lost to Man Utd, and the Red Devils’ boss was asked about their conversation.

“That is between Hakim and me,” Ten Hag told Viaplay [via Metro] when asked what was said. “We have experienced a lot together, beautiful things. There is a bond for life.

“He has to play every week. A footballer like that, in the prime of his life, must be on the pitch.”

Ziyech, who turned 30 in March, has made just 24 appearances in all competitions for Chelsea this season. A number of those were as a substitute, with the playmaker starting just once during the run to the Champions League quarter-finals, and he has racked up less than 1,000 minutes in total.

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Erik ten Hag and Hakim Ziyech worked together at Ajax

Erik ten Hag and Hakim Ziyech worked together at Ajax
Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

With one game of the Premier League season remaining, Ziyech is in danger of going an entire season without scoring a goal. His minutes were already limited before the January transfer window, at which point the arrival of the likes of Joao Felix and Mykhaylo Mudryk increased competition for places even further.

A move to PSG looked to have offered him a way out following an impressive World Cup campaign with Morocco. It wasn’t to be, though, prompting the French club’s football advisor Luis Campos to question the selling club.

“We had the player with us, we had done everything,” Campos said in February. “But as with all transfers, you need all three parties to work well.

“In this case it worked very well for Paris Saint-Germain, it also worked well with Ziyech. Unfortunately, it didn’t work well for the last party.”

Ziyech is under contract at Chelsea until 2025, suggesting the Blues may be able to recoup a fee if the €40m man moves on this summer, but he has been restricted to substitute appearances since the arrival of caretaker boss Frank Lampard. Incoming manager Mauricio Pochettino will now have a decision to make on the future of him and a number of other first-teamers.

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