Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech predicted Manchester United midfielder Donny van de Beek would achieve great things at Old Trafford if given time to acclimatise to the Premier League
Ziyech was the first to depart the Johan Cruyff stadium, as the Blues agreed a £36.6m deal well in advance to sign the Moroccan at the end of the 2018-19 season.
Van de Beek followed his attacking team mate to the Premier League shortly after, with the Dutchman, surprisingly, signing for United for £34m.
But despite the Dutchman’s early struggles to acclimatise at Old Trafford in his early stages at the Reds, Ziyech predicted the 24-year-old would become a huge star at the Red Devils.
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“We spoke in the beginning when he moved to Manchester,” Ziyech said in October 2020.
“And last week we didn’t speak a lot, we didn’t speak about his situation.
“I think he will need time as well. He comes from a different country, a different style of play.
“I know for sure it will take some time for him as well to get used to everything and then I know for sure he will bring quality to the squad over there.
“For him the most important thing right now is to stay calm.”
Unfortunately, Ziyech’s prediction is yet to come true, despite some recent positivity in Van de Beek’s performances.
Previous United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seemed strangely reluctant to deploy the attacking midfielder, in spite of United’s horrific displays at the end of his reign.
At one point, the whole of Old Trafford serenaded Solskjaer with ironic jeers, after he substituted Van de Beek onto the pitch in place of Fred during their 2-0 home defeat to Manchester City.
However, there has been a slight uptick in positivity for the former Ajax maestro in recent weeks.
He, somewhat poetically, scored the final goal of Solskjaer’s reign in United’s 4-1 away loss to Watford to open his Premier League goalscoring account for the season.
Caretaker manager Michael Carrick also afforded the Dutchman a rare showing of confidence, by deploying him ahead of Bruno Fernandes in United’s vital 2-0 Champions League away victory against Villarreal.
Meanwhile, Ziyech’s time at Stamford Bridge has been rather mixed to say the least.
The Moroccan has been extremely unfortunate, as injuries have constantly slammed the brakes on any accumulated momentum.
However, he played a starring role in Thomas Tuchel’s side’s dominant 4-0 home victory over Juventus in the Champions League.
He played a key role in Callum Hudson-Odoi’s goal against the Bianconeri, before assisting Timo Werner goal with a dream of a cross the German simply could not miss.
While Tuchel is a huge fan of the 28-year-old, Ziyech also has to compete with Timo Werner, Kai Havertz, Mason Mount, Romelu Lukaku, Callum Hudson-Odoi, Christian Pulisic, and Ross Barkley for one of the three attacking positions in Chelsea ’s team.
Ziyech could be set to face off with Van de Beek at Stamford Bridge, when Chelsea take on Manchester United in what will be a tumultuous contest for both sides.