Chelsea close in on €45m deal to sign Ajax star Ziyech
Chelsea are close to agreeing a deal worth €45 million (£38m/$49m) to sign Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech once the summer transfer window opens.
Goal can confirm that the Blues attempted to sign the Morocco international in January, but were informed by the Eredivisie champions that they preferred a transfer at the end of the season.
Talks are ongoing, but it is understood that the particulars of the deal are very close to being finalised ahead of the player agreeing personal terms.
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Should the deal go through as expected, Ziyech would become Frank Lampard's first signing since the former Blues midfielder became manager at Stamford Bridge.
Lampard was unable to make any additions to his squad during his first summer in charge as the west London outfit were under a FIFA-imposed transfer ban.
The club fought to have the ban halved in the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) ahead of the January window, but Lampard was left frustrated by the club's failure to land any new faces.
The Blues made attempts to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani and Napoli forward Dries Mertens, who are both out of contract at the end of the season, as Lampard looked to add more firepower to his ranks.
A deal could not be struck for either player, however, leaving the 41-year-old with just Michy Batshuayi and Olivier Giroud to provide competition for top scorer Tammy Abraham.
Lampard will be hopeful Ziyech can come to his side's aid in terms of improving their attacking returns in 2020-21, with the wideman having impressed since arriving at the Johan Cruyff ArenA from FC Twente in 2016.
The 26-year-old has scored 48 goals and laid on 82 assists in 159 matches for the Amsterdam outfit, and is averaging more than one goal involvement a game this season.
One of those goals came earlier in the campaign at Stamford Bridge as he curled in a free-kick from wide on the right during Ajax's controvery-filled 4-4 draw with Lampard's side in the Champions League.
Ziyech's arrival may mean the end for two Chelsea veterans, with both Pedro and Willian's contracts set to end in June.
Pedro has interest from both MLS and the J-League in his services while Brazil international Willian has consistantly been linked with Barcelona in recent years.
Their potential departures would leave just Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi as natural widemen in Lampard's squad, and as such it has long been understood that adding width to the ranks was on the agenda.
The Blues remain keen on signing both Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund and Timo Werner from RB Leipzig, but are likely to face competition for both players, with reports in recent days having linked them with Manchester United and Liverpool respectively.