Tuesday Aug 13, 2019. 14:30
Hakim Ziyech says he was not tempted by offers from the Bundfesliga, La Liga or France and is happy to play again for a fourth season at Dutch club Ajax Amsterdam.
The Moroccan international has been explaining his surprise decision to stay at Ajax – a club he vehemently sought to leave two seasons ago but where he now says his heart lies.
The 26-year-old, who was a central figure for Morocco in their abortive Africa Cup of Nations campaign in Egypt this year, told reporters: “I just like playing for Ajax. We have a good team, the spirit in the change rom is very good and after last season’s successful campaign I don’t see the need for any change. I’m happy here.”
Ziyech was forced to stay last season because there were no bids for him and he proved one of the key elements as Ajax made an unexpected run to the Champions League semifinals, as well as doing the domestic league and cup double.
His performances catapulted him in the market again but this time he was not interested in a move, even if he could be making a lot more money.
“That plays no role for me and I’ve never been that way inclined. I love football and at Ajax I’m playing football the way it should be played, attacking with the ball, pressing without it. At both those levels, I feel I can develop here and in both aspects enjoy it as well. I am bringing the best out in myself, I think.”
Sevilla were Ziyech’s strongest suitors in the transfer window but he says he did not have the “right feeling” about moving to the Spanish outfit. “Every player makes his own choices and Sevilla are a top club. But I’ve always said a move must make sense and I didn’t have that feeling. In that case I’d rather stay at Ajax.”
Last week he signed a one year extension to huis existing contract, which now ends in 2022, and, with Ajax, Ziyech says he wants to repeat the success of the last campaign.
“Champions League football must be a part of our season again. That is a goal that we all have. We know what lies before us first, which is getting a place in the group phase. The whole squad is determined to get there,” he added.