Hakim Ziyech is already a “top player”, admits Mario Melchiot, but the former Chelsea defender says the Moroccan winger can be “way more confident and dominant in games”.
The highly-rated forward arrived in west London over the summer nursing a slight knock, which delayed his start to Premier League life.
The ex-Ajax star has, however, slotted seamlessly into the fold now free of niggling injuries and fully adjusted to the demands of life in a new country, culture and division.
His creativity has been on full display through early outings for Chelsea, with a man-of-the-match performance put in during a 4-1 victory over Sheffield United.
Melchiot claims to have always been convinced that Ziyech could thrive in English football, telling Stadium Astro of the qualities that the 27-year-old offers: “He’s a top player. I see a top player because of his technical ability.
“When you come to Ajax, the system that they build up is about the technical aspect. Physically we are not always up to the task to compete with people, but technically we are.
“If you look at Ziyech, he’s a strong player. He may not look it, but physically he is.
“Left foot is great and as a human being he is a real fighter.
“It’s about how he positions himself because he’s a guy who tries to achieve better for himself. The only way to do that is through his stamina.
“His stamina, it looks like this guy will never get tired. So it comes down to how long and how effective can he stay for a team?
“Now Chelsea have him, for Ziyech it’s whether he can create the same ability that he had at Ajax – in terms of being so crucial to that team.
“When he does that, then we have a really good player. He is a top player and now he has to continue.”
Melchiot believes there is even more to come from Ziyech, adding: “We are seeing a confident guy but he can be way more confident and dominant in games.
“When he gets to that point, that’s when we are going to see the guy we really want to see.”
Obvious comparisons have been made between Ziyech and Manchester City winger Riyad Mahrez, with two men who are blessed with wands of a left foot bringing similar traits to their respective clubs.
Melchiot can see similarities between the pair, but believes Chelsea have landed themselves more of a team player.
The ex-Netherlands international said: “Mahrez has that dribble sense of trying to take you on. Ziyech has passing skills and the way of delivery is different than Mahrez.
“Mahrez is more of an individualist, he is trying to create danger himself, whereas Ziyech can open doors for a lot of other players.”