Arsenal and Manchester United have both been linked with the Moroccan star - but so too have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund
Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars has confirmed that Hakim Ziyech will leave the club this summer - it's just a matter of where.
Ziyech, the left-footed Moroccan international, played a starring role in the Dutch club's run to the Champions League semi-finals.
The 26-year-old has enjoyed a remarkable campaign in Amsterdam, scoring 21 goals and registering 24 assists for Erik ten Hag's side as they completed a domestic double.
Scouts have flocked to the Johan Cruyff Arena to keep tabs on the club's star names, and Ziyech has impressed.
Manchester United , Arsenal and Liverpool have all been watching him - as have Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund, with the pair eyeing him as replacement for Arjen Robben and Christian Pulisic respectively.
Bayern have already made contact with the player's representatives.
Ziyech has been non-committal on his future thus far, saying after the club sealed the Dutch title this week "That [a move] will come by itself. When that happens, everyone will automatically hear it."
Ajax are resigned to losing the ex-Twente star for a relatively meagre £25million, due to a release clause in his contract.
But Overmars admits he will go with their blessing.
"He leaves when a top club comes," said the Ajax boss. "He is in focus because of his achievements in the Champions League.
"Many big clubs are buzzing around him. We promised Hakim [that we would] agree to a good transfer."
Ziyech was named the club's player of the year after his displays.
He is expected to be part of the Morocco squad at this summer's Africa Cup of Nations also, with the Atlas Lions having been drawn in Group D, alongside Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.
(Goal.com) The Morocco internationals played key roles during the 2018-19 season as the Sons of Gods completed a domestic double
Hakim Ziyech has been named Ajax’s Player of the Year and his compatriot Noussair Mazraoui got the Talent of the Year award.
Coach Erik ten Hag made the announcement, on behalf of the supporters, during the end of season ceremony in Amsterdam on Thursday.
Ziyech and Mazraoui helped Ajax end their five-year wait for a league title on Wednesday, and they also played a part in Ajax's Dutch Cup triumph.
Ziyech impressed the world with his outstanding performances for Ajax during the Uefa Champions League, inspiring them to the semi-finals where they eventually lost to Tottenham Hotspur on the away goals rule.
During the 2018-19 season, Ziyech contributed 19 goals and 16 assists in 43 outings across all competitions while Mazraoui provided four goals and an assist in 42 matches.
Ziyech’s future at the Johan Cruyff Arena remains uncertain with several European clubs including Bayern Munich and Real Madrid reported to be targeting a summer move for him.
Next month, the duo are expected to play crucial roles for Morocco at the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations in Egypt.
The Atlas Lions have been drawn in Group D against Namibia, South Africa and Ivory Coast.
(CAFonline.com) Frenchman Herve Renard still ranks as they first coach in African history to win the Total Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) with two different teams. Renard produced one of the most scintillating results ever leading Zambia to the 2012 crown with a penalty shoot-out victory over Cote d’Ivoire.
Three years later, he turned the Ivorians tears from 2012 into chants of jubilation when he led them to the title with another post-match penalties conquest, this time over Ghana’s Black Stars.
He now looks straight at another unprecedented piece of history with Morocco’s Atlas Lions as he hopes to win a third continental crown with a side that has not won the title since 1976. Renard and his charges reached the quarter final of the 2017 showpiece losing 1-0 to Egypt.
Can Renard, and the Atlas Lions dream of quenching a 43-year old thirst?
“I don’t know…. everything is possible in football but first we have to look at our opening game which is the most important, then step by step. We have a tough group and it will be very important to come to Egypt with an ambition of respect all our opponents,” the Frenchman stated.
Morocco are in Group C with Renard’s former employers Cote d’Ivoire, South Africa and Namibia.
“We are in a very tough group and we need to come in here very concentrated. We have to be ready from the first game to get a good result which will give us some confidence going forward,” he added.
The 50-year old will be counting on the experience from the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia where despite bowing out in the group stages, the Atlas Lions gave encouraging performances. They finished bottom of the group after replicate 1-0 losses to Iran and Portugal and drew 2-2 with Spain who equalized in the final minute of added time.
“This experience will be very important because we played very good football. Though we didn’t get the result we wanted, all Moroccans were proud of their team. Now, we have to make them very happy again in Egypt,” stated the coach.
“We are coming in with an ambition and if you come with an ambition you have to beat everyone. We have a very good team and we need to believe in ourselves.”
Renard believes going through to the final will be tougher this time especially with the expansion of the tournament to 24 teams.
“The expansion makes it more difficult because there is one more round to play and the teams are more ambitious. But we are hoping to go very far in this tournament,” Renard noted.
Morocco topped their qualification group ahead of Cameroon with both sides picking 11 points with identical three wins, two draws and a loss from group B. The only loss they suffered was against each other, Cameroon winning the first leg (1-0) and Morocco winning the return tie (2-0).
Based in Cairo, Morocco will kick off their campaign against Namibia on 23 June at the Al Salam Stadium before playing Cote d’Ivoire five days later on South Africa on July 1 all at the same venue.
(Africanfootball.com) Nigeria coach Gernot Rohr has refuted reports that suggested that the Nigeria Football Federation has agreed a friendly match against Morocco.
Recent reports indicated that the two teams are set to lock horns in a pre-Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) match on the 9th of June 2019 in France.
This came as a surprise as the Super Eagles are scheduled to face Zimbabwe in a friendly game on June 8 in Asaba, Nigeria.
German tactician Rohr confirmed that they will not be facing the Atlas Lions.
"It was about organizing this friendly match, but unfortunately it cannot be done," said Rohr to Medias 24.
Nigeria are also expected to take on their West African rivals Senegal in another friendly match on the 16th of June 2019.
The Super Eagles will be hoping to clinch their fourth AFCON title in Egypt.
EXCLUSIVE: Tottenham rivals Ajax's Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui won't eat or drink during daylight hours for four days in run-up to Champions League semi decider
Ajax stars Hakim Ziyech and Noussair Mazraoui have told the club that they are going to fast during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.
But Dutch fitness guru Raymond Verheijen has warned the pair, who will not be consuming any food or liquids during daylight hours from Sunday, that they will suffer physically at a crucial stage of the season for Treble-chasing Ajax.
The Amsterdam side face Willem II in the Dutch Cup Final on Sunday, then host Tottenham on Wednesday night in the second leg of a Champions League semi-final they lead 1-0 and are ahead of PSV Eindhoven only on goal difference at the top of the Eredivisie with two games to go.
Verheijen said: “It would be irresponsible if Ziyech and Mazraoui stick to the fasting requirements of Ramadan at this stage of the season. Ajax’s situation is extreme - everyone is aware of that.
“The players’ bodies will be deregulated, as they will be changing a pattern of training and diet of the past 11 months.
“If you do this now, in the ultimate performance weeks of the season, it is like throwing a spanner in a wheel. Their blood sugar level will be lower - and that means less and less energy. Not only does that make athletes less alert, it will also send weaker signals to the muscles of the body.”
Ziyech played all but three minutes of last week's first leg in north London, while Mazraoui came on as a substitute just after the hour.
Verheijen added: “The sun sets on Wednesday night at 21.18 in local time and the second leg of the semi-final kicks off at 21.00. You can’t play without eating before the game. And what about if this match goes to extra time, with Tottenham leading 1-0?
“I expect the players to realise that this is almost impossible for them.”
Ajax coach Erik ten Hag refuses to ask any of his squad to put their fitness needs ahead of their religious beliefs. He said: “It is the choice of my players. I leave this entirely up to them."