Hakim Ziyech has been told to “be patient” by Graham Potter upon his return to Chelsea from the World Cup in Qatar.
Ziyech, 29, played a key role in Morocco’s success at the tournament, as they became the first African nation to ever reach a World Cup semi-final, but he’s struggled for game time since Potter arrived at Stamford Bridge.
The former Ajax man is yet to start a league game during Potter’s time in charge and has racked up just 32 Premier League minutes since September.
READ: Why Ziyech has flopped for Chelsea but starred at World Cup
Despite being praised by his manager for his form in Qatar, Ziyech won’t be handed a free pass straight into the Chelsea starting XI by Potter.
What has Potter said?
Speaking to the press ahead of the Blues’ clash against Bournemouth on December 27, Potter said: “He’s been a little bit away from the first XI but he’s been involved in the games.
“He came on in the first game as a sub. We know his qualities, we like him as a player, he plays in between the lines, has fantastic qualities which we saw at the World Cup.
“We can speak a lot but the chances are there are always good players who aren’t in the starting XI you have to be patient.”
READ: Hakim Ziyech’s future at Chelsea: The latest
Potter was then questioned about Ziyech’s performances for his nation at the World Cup. “I’m delighted for him,” the former Brighton & Hove Albion manager revealed. “I kept in touch with him over the World Cup. I’m delighted for him that he got the game time and helped his team. He’s a good guy and he’s got quality.”
Ziyech was heavily linked with a transfer away during the summer, with reigning Serie A champions AC Milan the club deemed most interested. A move never materialised, however, and Ziyech has since not been able to make his mark at Stamford Bridge. It’s fuelled yet more rumours of a transfer away, with a move back to former club Ajax touted as a potential option for the 29-year-old.
Newcastle United could also reportedly make a move for Ziyech if his game time at Chelsea doesn’t drastically improve upon his return from international duty.