Chelsea are in advanced talks to sign Ajax winger Hakim Ziyech this summer in a £38m deal that is likely to be announced in the coming days.
The 26-year-old was a January transfer target for Chelsea boss Frank Lampard.
But the Dutch club were unwilling to sell in the transfer window as they chase the Eredevisie title.
The signing of the Morocco international would be the first by Lampard following Chelsea’s transfer window ban.
Chelsea were linked with a number of signings in the January window including Paris St-Germain forward Edinson Cavani and Napoli striker Dries Mertens.
But Lampard’s apparent frustration with a lack of new arrivals is understood to have stemmed from clubs refusing to sell rather than any problems with Chelsea’s recruitment strategy.
Ziyech contributed to a memorable Ajax goal against Chelsea in the 4-4 draw in their Champions League group game in November.
The winger’s free-kick from near the corner flag, curled over Kepa Arrizabalaga’s head and hit the far post before rebounding in off the Chelsea goalkeeper for an own goal.
Ziyech played the final 10 minutes of Ajax’s 3-0 win against Vitesse in the Dutch Cup on Wednesday, as he returned from a calf injury.
After the game, Ajax boss Erik ten Hag said: “I am not surprised by the news about Ziyech. I know that our players are very popular with the big clubs in Europe. That is just great.
“I have known for a long time what Hakim wants. He has a picture in mind. He knows exactly which clubs he finds interesting and which not. Chelsea is a fantastic club. When it is final, I am very happy for Hakim, and I am very proud of it.”
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