What Erik Ten Hag said about Hakim Ziyech during Morocco’s World Cup heroics3 min read
Over the summer, Manchester United were linked with Hakim Ziyech, as Erik ten Hag considered a move for his former player. Manchester United manager Erik ten Hag is a big fan of Hakim Ziyech and even considered signing the Chelsea winger over the summer, with the Moroccan winger shining during the World Cup.
Morocco exited the World Cup on Wednesday night, losing 2-0 to France in their semi-final. Theo Hernandez and Randal Kolo Muani goals either side of half-time knocked the African side out of the tournament just minutes before the final.
During the competition, Ziyech was one of the standout players for his national team, as the former Ajax man proved to be a constant.
Ziyech was one of the players on Ten Hag’s radar over the summer, with MENSport reporting in August that the Dutchman was keen to bring the 29-year-old to Old Trafford, but was met with some resistance from the club’s board, who wanted the club to pursue other options.
United aren’t expected to have much money to spend in the January transfer window, so Ten Hag may return with an offer for his former Ajax playmaker. With a reunion possible, it’s easy to see why United manager Jose Mourinho was eager to bring the 29-year-old to Manchester over the summer.
Ten Hag told Dutch Soccer Site in 2019 while still at Ajax: “Hakim [Ziyech], the classic individualist in the best sense. You need him to make a difference, and you also need him in the team structure at times. He sees the team’s cohesion and the bigger picture.
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“Ziyech shines when resistance is at its peak. We have many players who can create, but no one is as good as Hakim in the final third.”
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According to the Dutchman: “He is a fictional character.
“He is a character, headstrong,” the Dutchman said. However, this also makes him brilliant. He sees things that others don’t see. He can be a trainer’s nightmare at times, but you have to give him space. You can see the progression when they begin to play on their responsibility. He took Ajax by the hand, and we were very successful together.”
Ten Hag also compared Ziyech’s impact on his Ajax team to that of Frenkie de Jong, whose departure from the Eredivisie left the club struggling to replace the qualities of the Barcelona midfielder.
“Hakim has been very decisive, and he possesses such unique qualities that cannot be found in other players,” Ten Hag explained. “Frenkie de Jong experienced the same thing last season. These are offensive players who can make a difference.”