Chelsea may have received a huge transfer boost in the reported race to sign Inter Milan star Achraf Hakimi.
The 22-year-old, who only signed for Inter last summer, has been heavily linked with a summer move to Paris Saint-Germain, but there is now a problem.
According to FC Inter News, Inter and PSG have reached an ‘impasse’ in negotiations for Hakimi, with the Milan-based club demanding around €75million (£64m) for his services, but the Paris outfit have only offered €60m (£51m).
The halt in talks for the full-back has led to Chelsea being given an unexpected opportunity to make a move for the highly-rated Morocco international.
The report from Italy claims that Hakimi’s agent has had a ‘phone call from Chelsea’ over a potential deal, but ‘official steps’ are yet to be taken.
It might be a tricky job for Marina Granovskaia to pull this transfer off, but the Blues may have one secret weapon up their sleeve.
Hakim Ziyech is international team-mates with Hakimi, with the pair both being two of Morocco’s most influential players.
Ziyech, 28, has represented the African country 39 times already competitively, scoring an impressive 17 goals in the process, while Hakimi, the younger of the two, has already played 34 times and netted three goals.
In November 2020, the Moroccan duo showcased their link-up play as well, as they inspired their country to a 4-1 win over the Central African Republic.
Ziyech played a typical defence-splitting through ball to put Hakimi through on goal after an intelligent run, and the former Real Madrid man slotted the ball away emphatically.
For Chelsea fans, the prospect of them two linking up next season is an exciting prospect.
Hakimi featured 37 times in Inter’s Serie A-winning 2020/21 season under Antonio Conte, with the orthodox full-back being used on the right side of a midfield five – something we saw the former Blues boss do with Victor Moses during his two-year spell at Stamford Bridge.
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In those 37 league games, he scored seven goals and provided 10 assists for his team-mates.
Thomas Tuchel has often used a three-back formation during his short tenure as Chelsea boss, so if Hakimi did indeed make the move to west London, then this is something we could expect to see during the German’s reign.
Tuchel has used the likes of Cesar Azpilicueta, Reece James and Callum Hudson-Odoi as wing-backs since taking over as manager in January.