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Chelsea dealt major transfer blow as Hakim Ziyech’s Saudi Arabia move falls apart

Everything seemed set for Hakim Ziyech to end his misery at Chelsea and embark on a new adventure in Saudi Arabia before the deal fell through at the 11th hour.

In a desperate attempt to get rid of the Moroccan’s hefty salary, the Blues were inclined to accept as low as £8 million from Al-Nassr to facilitate their outcast’s exit.

Ziyech even touched down in Riyadh a few days ago to undergo his medicals before signing a three-year contract, only for the operation to blow up at the last minute.

According to the Evening Standard, the 30-year-old failed to agree the final details of his long-term contract in the Gulf country and is now heading back to London.

Deemed surplus to requirements at Stamford Bridge, alongside numerous other poor-performing stars, Ziyech was set to join Al-Nassr as part of Chelsea’s bid to offload their deadwood.

In addition to ill-fated negotiations with the Saudi outfit, the former Ajax winger seems to have failed a medical, casting doubt on the Middle East club’s willingness to revisit a move in the coming weeks.

With two years left to run on his contract at Chelsea, the left-footed forward must be feeling a sense of deja vu now that he returns to the club that doesn’t want him.

He missed out on a deadline-day transfer to Paris Saint-Germain in January as Chelsea filed the wrong paperwork.

He fell out of favour under several managers, and it’s hard to envisage a revival under Mauricio Pochettino, considering the Argentine’s plan to trim down his bloated squad.

Ziyech joined the Pensioners from Ajax for £33m in 2020, but his career in the Premier League never took off, as witnessed by an underwhelming return of three goals from 18 league outings last season.

But it’s worth noting the majority of his appearances in 2022/23 came from the substitutes bench, as he averaged a meagre 36 minutes per game in the Premier League.

As things are likely to get worse before they get better for the underperforming winger, he may soon seek an alternate escape route from Chelsea.

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