Chelsea’s plan to sell Hakim Ziyech to Ajax at risk of COLLAPSE

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Ajax’s hopes of securing a reunion with former star Hakim Ziyech are at risk of collapse, with talks between Chelsea and the Dutch giants failing to progress.

The attacking midfielder scored 49 times and added 81 assists during a four-year-spell in Amsterdam before he joined Chelsea for £33.3m in 2020.

But his time at Stamford Bridge has not proved to be as successful, with the Moroccan star keen to leave the club after failing to nail down a regular spot in Thomas Tuchel’s starting XI.

Ajax have attempted to bring him back to the club but discussions haven’t gone well, and the Dutch side are now contemplating whether to switch to other targets.

If the move does collapse, Ziyech will join a long list of stars at Stamford Bridge who are unwanted by Thomas Tuchel but are also unable to secure a move away from the club.

After Sunday’s embarrassing 3-0 defeat to Leeds, Tuchel has plenty of work left to do in the transfer window, which closes at 11pm on September 1.

They have been heavily linked with moves for Wesley Fofana, Anthony Gordon, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Frenkie de Jong.

It is not just incomings that Tuchel will be busy with in the final days of the window but also outgoings as Chelsea’s large squad is in need of trimming.

There are numerous players without a future still part of the set-up at Stamford Bridge, but Chelsea’s challenge will be offloading those on their books that are on much higher salaries than they would receive elsewhere.

Ross Barkley, Kenedy, Michy Batshuayi, Ethan Ampadu and Billy Gilmour all failed to receive a squad number this year, suggesting their careers lie elsewhere, but Tuchel has been unable to offload any of them so far this summer.

Barkley has played just 215 minutes in the Premier League for Chelsea over the past two seasons, but there are no signs for the former Everton wonderkid will secure a move away, with a year still left to run still on his contract.

Marcos Alonso, now third choice left-back, was expected to depart this summer, but a proposed move to Barcelona is on hold as the Catalan club continue to deal with their financial problems, with Xavi’s side still unable to register £46m summer signing Jules Kounde.

Tuchel has confirmed that Alonso was set to depart after leaving him out for their season opener at Everton.

The German said: ‘He (Alonso) tries to leave and we agreed to this wish and that’s why it would not have made sense to put him on the pitch today.

‘He would have been on the pitch otherwise but I think in this situation it was the right thing to do.’

However, the Spaniard is no closer to departing and is currently in limbo, waiting for a move away from the club to materialise, like other unwanted stars such as Batshuayi and Baba Rahman.

Batshuayi hasn’t featured for the club in more than two years, but remains on the books at Stamford Bridge, with Chelsea unable to shift the Belgian.

Others in the will-they-won’t-they position include Conor Gallagher. Much excitement greeted Gallagher’s first competitive start for Chelsea on Sunday after several impressive loan spells away.

But he struggled to deal with Leeds’ high-pressing style, which led to claims the former Palace star failed his audition, as N’Golo Kante and Mateo Kovacic missed the clash due to injury.

TheChelsea display, with Gallagher looking uncomfortable in a deeper role than the one he played last season, has raised questions over whether Tuchel sees a future for the 22-year-old in his system, with plenty of Premier League clubs, notably Palace, willing to pounce if he becomes available.

Like Ziyech, Christian Pulisic and Callum Hudson-Odoi are also keen on a move after seeing their opportunities for regular football limited over the past year.

At the top of Tuchel’s in-tray over the next few days will be sorting out the futures of these wantaway forwards, although Hudson-Odoi is expected to join Bayer Leverkusen on loan.

Pulisic is desperate to depart for regular football ahead of representing USA at the World Cup, but it looks as if the American won’t be able to secure a transfer despite interest from Manchester United.

Tuchel insisted before the weekend he is reluctant to allow departures after his side were hit by an early-season injury crisis.

He said: ‘I know there are a lot of talks but [I] will also not comment on our players. We will not encourage our players to go out at the moment.

‘We had now two training sessions [this week] with 18 players and in a schedule where we play once a week, it is not a problem.

‘We will need a lot of players and quality players to be competitive. At the moment, as I said, we have what we have.

‘We know what we’re looking for. From there we go and only from there we can think about letting players go.’

Young forward Armando Broja is also waiting to see if he will be loaned out, with the Albanian likely to slip down the pecking order if Chelsea do bring in another forward.

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