There are a whole host of reasons why Moroccan poster boy Hakim Ziyech was so desperate to make the move to Paris Saint-Germain, which can best be summarized in the Premier League top-four finish betting odds.
Some might point to more consistent playing time, and certainly, the January signings of Mykhaylo Mudryk and Joao Felix won’t do Ziyech’s hopes any favors. Others may point to financial motivations, but it was clear that the winger’s salary wasn’t a stumbling block during the protracted failed transfer dealings. More likely to have turned Ziyech’s head was the rare opportunity to line up alongside the array of superstars that make up PSG’s frontline, not to mention his Moroccan teammate Achraf Hakimi.
However, more than anything, the prospect of actually playing meaningful matches was surely key to Ziyech’s thinking. PSG may well be five points clear in Ligue 1 at the time of writing, but recent defeats at Rennes and Lens suggest the Parisians’ quest to become the first French club to win 11 league titles won’t be a cakewalk.
Contrast the fight for Ligue 1 with Chelsea and what appears to be a losing battle to make next season’s Champions League. Pre-season, their odds to finish in the top four were as short as 1/2, but now they’re out to 10/1 and are odds against to even qualify for the Europa League via a top six spot. Finding solace in a Champions League run looks unlikely too, with the west Londoners priced at 18/1 in comparison to 8/1 for Paris Saint-Germain to take home the trophy.
Hakim Ziyech can only hope that he’ll continue to be given playing opportunities at Stamford Bridge and that bookmakers are wrong about Chelsea’s prospects, or his fury over his unsuccessful move to France will only deepen.