Arsenal have reportedly squandered £25m Hakim Ziyech chance

Unai Emery, Manager of Arsenal gives his team instructions during the UEFA Europa League Group F match between Arsenal FC and Standard Liege at Emirates Stadium on October 03, 2019 in...

Hakim Ziyech is staying at Eredivisie champions Ajax as Arsenal miss the chance to bring him to the Premier League for a bargain fee.

Hakim Ziyech of Ajax during the Dutch Eredivisie match between Ajax Amsterdam and AZ Alkmaar at the Johan Cruijff Arena on October 07, 2018 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Not for the first time and not for the last, Arsenal fans were out in force on Twitter last week with questions being asked, once again, of manager Unai Emery.

The criticism this time wasn’t focused on a less-than-convincing defensive display or the ongoing absence of Mesut Ozil, however. Instead, it was a brilliant Champions League goal from Hakim Ziyech which had the Arsenal fans whimpering.

According to the Mirror, the Gunners were interested in signing one of Europe’s most influential play-makers over the summer with Ziyech available for as little as £25 million.

 

Not bad for a player who produced a staggering 21 goals and 24 assists as Ajax won the Eredivisie and KNVB Cup double last season, not to mention storming to the Champions League semi-finals for the first time in the 21st century.

And when you consider how over-reliant Arsenal have been on the clinical finishing of Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang while lacking the cutting edge and creativity that once made them England’s most watchable side in the happier days of Arsene Wenger, Ziyech felt like the sort of player who could be the club’s new Ozil, Cesc Fabregas or Freddie Ljungberg.

Hakim Ziyech of Ajax celebrates 0-1 during the Dutch Eredivisie  match between Vitesse v Ajax at the GelreDome on September 2, 2018 in Arnhem Netherlands

But, according to De Telegraaf, Ajax have now tied Ziyech down to a new contract which makes him the best-paid player not just in Amsterdam but in the history of Dutch football. Furthermore, the £25 million release-clause has now been removed, meaning Ajax can demand whatever fee they like for a player who has started 2019/20 in typically mesmerizing fashion.

This feels like an opportunity squandered by Arsenal. Not for the first time either.

Hakim Ziyech of Ajax during the UEFA Champions League quarter final match between Juventus FC  and Ajax Amsterdam at the Allianz Arena on April 16, 2019 in Turin, Italy

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