He was touted as the next big name to leave Ajax with a crop of leading European clubs said to be ready to splash the cash on his undisputed talents. But the good news for Ajax fans is that the hierarchy team managed to secure the services of Hakim Ziyech for a bit longer just yet with the completion of a new deal to stay with the Amsterdam giants.
it has come as huge boost to Ajax given that they have seen their talent pool reduced somewhat by the departure of Frenkie de Jong to Catalonian powerhouse Barcelona and Matthijs de Ligt to Italian side Juventus.
And by way of marking the extension to his contract, the Moroccan star, whose Ajax stats show that he has bagged 21 goals in 49 appearances, helped himself to a goal as Erik ten Hag’s men kicked off their Eredevisie term with a thumping 5-0 win over FC Emmen on Saturday. The victory came just 24 hours after midfield ace Ziyech, who’s is aged 26, put pen to paper to commit his future (well, at least until 2022 anyway) to the Sons of the Gods, the current Dutch champions, and many pundits were asking, “what better way to celebrate?”.
Lots of the continent’s elite clubs looked at hiring the play-making maestro but of late it was Spanish outfit Sevilla who emerged as favourites to land the considerably talented schemer. But all that changed when the player had a change of heart of his desire to leave the club. German champions Bayern Munich were also interested in luring him to the Bundesliga but for whatever reason the switch didn’t happen. And on returning from the Africa Cup of Nations duty for Morocco — and having had time off by way of a holiday to recuperate — Ziyech chose to remain at the club he joined from Twente Enschede back in 2016.
“I very much enjoy playing for Ajax. It feels good to be entering my fourth season here. I am sure Sevilla are a good club, but I have always said that everything needed to be right if I were to make a transfer.
“Sevilla didn’t give me that feeling, so I would rather remain at Ajax. I could have waited for Bayern Munich, yeah. But it felt like the right moment to clarify my situation, both for Ajax and myself. If a club wanted me, they could have made their move. I think everybody’s seen what we did with Ajax and what my role was in that success.
“A transfer was never the holy grail for me. If the right club doesn’t come along, so be it. I signed a new deal and will definitely remain at Ajax this season.”