Few players have been as consistent as Hakim Ziyech at FC Twente since joining the side from Heerenveen a few seasons ago. And no player is as important to his club as Ziyech is to Twente. It is incredible that the Moroccan is still plying his trade in Enschede given the consistent brilliance he has produced for the side this season and due to the fact that he would represent one of the most mouthwatering bargains on the continent.
He is the team’s talisman, heartbeat, top scorer, creative force and former captain but still the leader on the pitch. FC Twente themselves are in a precarious financial and legal position that is shows no sign of subsiding and will have to sell off their biggest asset for a cut price fee in the summer. The player who only turned 23 last month has 39 goals and 35 assists since 2013 which is unmatched by any other player in the Eredivisie at the moment.
The attacking midfielder is slight in size but possesses a turn of pace and bamboozling skills that make up for it as he is able to drive into the box and create or score at will. He is very much an attacking midfielder in the mould of Leicester City’s Algerian wizard Riyad Mahrez with their astounding balance on the ball and their ability to twist and turn out of the trickiest of positions. The deficit of top tier talent at FC Twente has only spurred him on as he has metaphorically put the team on his back and carried them as without him, they would probably already be en route to the Eerste Divisie.
However, this has weighed heavily on his shoulders as in an interview with Dutch Newspaper de Volkskrant at the end of the first half of the season, he lashed out at his teammates and his manager Rene Hake which resulted in him being stripped of the captaincy. However, this seems to have lit a fire under the greatly inexperienced side as they have lifted themselves out of and away from the relegation zone and to safety.
“We have a young team, of course, ” he said. “And I understand that some players struggle with their motivation confidence. But sometimes I see them make mistakes and I think, you learn it? Simple combinations walking dead,” said Ziyech last December. “Football is becoming less. I feel compelled always to look for the same players. Mokotjo, Cabral and above. I feel that I stop. I want to go.”
Some would say the above quotes and others would see it is a player being refreshingly open and honest given the club has sold many of their best players and sacked a coach that Ziyech was close to. However, he has carried on being a constant performer for the club as the attacking midfielder has only gone two games without assisting or scoring this season. In a team that has lost Dusan Tadic, Nacer Chadli and Luc Castaignos in the past, the loss of Ziyech could be the one that cripples FC Twente.
The 23 year-old has 17 goals and 10 assists as he has created 86 chances completing 71% of 35 passes per game as 89% of his passes are forward passes. He also has 3 key passes per game while taking 5 shots with 2 crosses and 2 long balls per game. He also makes 2 tackles and 1 interception per game, most notably from how ferociously he presses the ball as has the most effective attacking statistics in the Eredivisie. Ziyech would be