Update In Arsenal’s Pursuit Of This Eredivisie Attacking Midfielder: An Upgrade Over Ozil?

Hakim Ziyech of Ajax looks on during the UEFA Champions League 3rd Qualifying match between Ajax and PAOK Thessaloniki at Johan Cruyff Arena on August 13, 2019 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images)

According to Telegraaf, as cited by AS, Ajax have recently removed the €30 million release clause in the contract of Hakim Ziyech to fend off interest from potential suitors including Arsenal. This could be a massive blow for the Gunners as it means that the attacker’s value could skyrocket, with the January transfer window approaching fast. But, do they need him at the Emirates?

Ziyech’s success in the Eredivisie

To figure out whether or not he would be a good fit at Arsenal, it’s important to take a look at his accomplishments in the Eredivisie. The attacker initially made his mark at FC Twente, scoring 34 goals for the club in all competitions before joining Ajax in 2016 for a fee of €11 million.

Ziyech has enjoyed immense success at Amsterdam, notably playing a key role in attack under the ongoing management of Erik ten Haag. The Moroccan international was part of the Ajax side that surprised everyone last season to reach the semi-final of the UEFA Champions League. They also secured the Eredivisie title, with Ziyech netting an impressive 16 league goals while registering 17 assists.

During his ongoing three-year spell at Ajax, the ex-Heerenveen youth product has been involved in over 100 goals in just 144 matches – making him arguably the most successful player at the club in recent years.

Is Ziyech a viable target for Arsenal?

Ziyech is a right-winger by trade. But, he has played a host of positions throughout his footballing career, including the attacking midfield role and even as a secondary forward. This is indicative of his versatility in the final third that could benefit Arsenal.

The Gunners have invested a lot in Nicolas Pepe this summer. But, the Ivorian is yet to make a significant impact at the Emirates. Reiss Nelson has also struggled, though his recent form in the cup games has been excellent. 

Moreover, Henrikh Mkhitaryan left Arsenal to join AS Roma on loan this summer while the club is reportedly ready to offload Mesut Ozil in the upcoming January transfer window. And that’s where Ziyech could come into the frame.

The Moroccan would be an upgrade over any of the current creative stars for Arsenal including Ozil. He is versatile and can provide the dynamism Unai Emery is seeking in the final third. Besides, the 26-year-old has a knack for scoring goals, which is invaluable given Arsenal’s overreliance on Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang when it comes to finding the back of the net.

However, Ajax removing Ziyech’s release clause could create financial problems for Arsenal in their pursuit of Ziyech even if they get rid of Ozil in January.

Jack O’Brien

A 22 y/o football nerd seeking my way into football writing. I love Irish football and also the Premier League. A huge Arsenal fan! Aside from writing, I like to spend my time fishing and drinking beer.