Exclusive: Why Chelsea star’s Saudi transfer fell through and a possible new move explained by expert

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Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech could still leave the club for a summer transfer window move to Saudi Arabia, according to Ben Jacobs in his exclusive CaughtOffside column.

The Morocco international saw a move to Al Nassr fall through earlier this summer, and Jacobs has revealed precisely why that deal may have collapsed, with some differing accounts coming out depending on who you ask.

Jacobs says the deal collapsing was initially blamed on issues in Ziyech’s medical with Al Nassr, but sources close to the player himself have suggested it was more due to a disagreement over wages after they also signed Marcelo Brozovic.

There’s now still a chance that Ziyech could move to Al Ahli instead, while Jacobs also provided updates on other potential high-profile Saudi Pro League transfers that we could still see this summer, such as Sadio Mane and Aleksandar Mitrovic heading to Al Nassr and Al Hilal, respectively.

“Al-Nassr continue talks with Sadio Mane and are prepared to pay Bayern €40m. Bayern want to sell, and now it will all come down to the player. Talks are progressing,” Jacobs said.

Hakim Ziyech could still leave Chelsea for Saudi Arabia

“Mane had indicated at the beginning of the summer he wanted to stay at Bayern, but his perspective has changed now that Thomas Tuchel has made it clear he is not in his plans. Al-Nassr want a final answer by the end of the month with the hope of getting a Mane deal finalised ahead of the new Saudi Pro League season.

Keep an eye on Chelsea’s Hakim Ziyech, too. His Al-Nassr move collapsed following concerns during his Madrid medical over his knee and hip. Al-Nassr still offered Ziyech a €15m annual salary, but they restructured the package so that the base wage was 40% less. This meant Ziyech would have to make his full salary in appearances and bonuses, something he was not prepared to do.

“The Ziyech camp argue the medical issues were red herrings and that actually Al-Nassr pulled out because they landed Marcelo Brozovic from Inter. Al-Ahli may yet revive the deal.

“And Al-Hilal continue to really push for Aleksandar Mitrovic. It may even be verbally agreed by the time you read this. Mitrovic really wants the move and has made that crystal clear to Fulham, who have been irritated by the approaches to date.

“Mitrovic is desperate to play with fellow Serbian Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. It’s a deal that is eventually expected to get done and not one that will be influenced by the world-record bid for Mbappe.”

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