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Spurs: Antonio Conte interested in Hakim Ziyech

Tottenham Hotspur are interested in a deal to bring Hakim Ziyech to north London this summer.

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Transfer Focus

That’s according to a report by Dutch media outlet Algemeen Dagblad (via Sport Witness), who claim that, with Antonio Conte looking to have missed out on the signing of his number one attacking midfield target Nicolo Zaniolo, the 52-year-old has now turned his attention to the Chelsea forward.

The report goes on to state that Ajax are also interested in a move for the 29-year-old, with the Eredivisie side believed to have identified the Morocco international as a potential replacement for Antony – who is being heavily linked with a €90m (£76m) move to Manchester United prior to September’s transfer deadline.

On Ziyech’s part, the forward is believed to be open to a move away from Stamford Bridge this summer, while Thomas Tuchel is also thought to be willing to sanction the 40-cap international’s departure in the coming days – as Ziyech is no longer a key part of the German’s first-team plans in west London.

Dream Zaniolo alternative

While it is true that, following his £33m signing back in 2020, Ziyech’s time at Chelsea has not exactly gone as the 29-year-old would have hoped – starting just 29 Premier League fixtures for the Blues – the argument that the attacking midfielder would be something of a dream alternative for Zaniolo is an easy one to make.

Indeed, despite his limited game time, the £25.2m-rated talent has still managed to impress in the top flight of English football, scoring two goals, registering three assists and creating six big chances over his 23 Premier League appearances – only 15 of which came from the off – back in 2020/21, as well as making an average of 1.5 key passes, taking 1.5 shots and completing 0.8 dribbles per game.

Not only do these returns prove just how effective the £100k-per-week forward is from the bench, but they also saw him average an eye-catching SofaScore match rating of 7.02, ranking him as the Blues’ joint tenth-best performer in the league in his debut campaign with the club.

It was a similar story over his 23 top-flight fixtures – only 14 of which came as starts – in 2021/22, with the 29-year-old bagging four goals, providing three assists and creating nine big chances, in addition to taking an average of 2.3 shots, making 1.3 key passes and completing 1.2 dribbles per outing.

These returns saw the player who ex-manager Frank Lampard dubbed a “dream” and Elliot Hackney labelled “unreal” average an even more impressive SofaScore match rating of 7.09, ranking him as Chelsea’s 12th-best player in the league last time out.

For comparison, over Zaniolo’s 28 Serie A appearances last season, the £29.7m-rated attacking midfielder scored two goals, registered two assists and created four big chances for his teammates, as well as taking an average of 2.5 shots, making one key pass and completing 2.0 dribbles per game.

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These metrics saw the £75k-per-week 23-year-old average a SofaScore match rating of 6.70, ranking him as Jose Mourinho’s ninth-worst performer in the top flight of Italian football in 2021/22.

As such, considering Ziyech’s superior returns, in addition to the Moroccan already boasting a considerable amount of experience in English football, it is clear to see that, should Conte indeed have missed out on the Italy international’s signing, the 29-year-old would appear a dream alternative for the 52-year-old to target over the remainder of the summer window.