Thomas Tuchel has numerous players to choose from when picking his first-choice left-winger this season, with Hakim Ziyech, Christian Pulisic, Timo Werner, Callum Hudson-Odoi and even Kai Havertz and Mason Mount all fighting for the same position
The arrival of Romelu Lukaku means that winger Hakim Ziyech is at risk of being Chelsea’s missing man this season and he could find himself searching for a new club soon.
The winger arrived at Chelsea back in February 2020 from Ajax in a deal worth £37million, but he has failed to replicate his impressive Eredivisie form at Stamford Bridge.
The 28-year-old scored 40 goals and assisted 52 during four years at Ajax, helping them to one league title.
However, since his switch to London he has only managed to score twice and assist three in 24 appearances, and he may have fewer opportunities to justify his price tag this season after £97.5m was spent on Belgian forward Lukaku.
His arrival means that Timo Werner, who was a constant threat last season but lacked an end product, will be switched out to the left wing to allow Lukaku to play as the central striker.
Therefore, Ziyech is relying on German manager Thomas Tuchel to rotate between himself and Werner in order to impress the Blues faithful.
But that seems unlikely. Tuchel put a lot of faith in Werner last season despite his goal ducks, consistently starting the former RB Leipzig forward over Tammy Abraham, who was their top scorer in the previous campaign.
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Abraham joined AS Roma over the summer in a move worth £34m, again, showing the faith Tuchel has in Werner to be his backup striker if Lukaku has to be rested or picks up an injury.
Ziyech enjoyed a good pre-season for the Blues before the 2021/22 campaign, but it was cut short after he sustained a shoulder injury in the Super Cup Final against Villarreal.
The Morocco international scored in the 27th minute but a few minutes before half-time he was substituted having fallen awkwardly after contesting a header.
The injury certainly may have put a significant halt on his chances of retaining his place in the first eleven, especially given that he looked better than ever during the few games prior to the injury.
It is certainly possible to question whether the wingers’ mind is occupied by his club situation after his international manager, Vahid Halihodzic.
The Moroccan manager sent Ziyech home after he supposedly faked an injury so that he didn’t have to play in a recent friendly.
He said: “His behaviour in the last two matches, especially the last one, was not that of a national team player who as a leader in the team has to be a positive role model. He arrived late and after that, he even refused to work.”
He continued: “For the first time in my coaching career, I have seen behaviour that disappoints me. A player who refuses to play a game, admittedly a friendly, on the pretext that he is injured.
“The medical staff made several examinations and said he could play. He then refused to warm up in the second half because he was disappointed to be a substitute.”
Ziyech has since denied the story with an Instagram post, though if there is any truth to the claims then one would assume Ziyech is purely focusing on his club career and does not want to risk injury and fall further down the pecking order.
American winger Christian Pulisic will also be keen to feature more this season, and the likes of Kai Havertz and Mason Mount have also played as wingers previously too which gives Ziyech more competition.
It seems as though he may be left on the outside looking in as Tuchel’s side challenge for the Premier League title.