‘WERNER AND ZİYECH CAN BE LEADERS FOR CHELSEA’



Timo Werner and Hakim Ziyech can be leaders for Chelsea, according to Ashley Cole, who believes the two new signings will bring more than just star quality to the squad.

Chelsea reached an agreement to sign Ziyech from Ajax for £36 million (€40m/$47m) in February, and he joined up with his new team-mates earlier this summer after seeing out the 2019-20 campaign at Johan Cruyff ArenA.

The Blues splashed the cash to land another of Europe’s most in-demand talents in June, as Timo Werner completed a £47.5 million (€53m/$62m) move to Stamford Bridge from RB Leipzig.

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Both men are expected to slot straight into Frank Lampard’s line up when their new season kicks off away at Brighton on September 14, with Chelsea aiming to improve on a fourth-place Premier League finish last term.

Ziyech inspired Ajax to multiple domestic trophies while also making his mark in the Champions League, while Werner’s goals helped Leipzig compete for the Bundesliga title and a place at Europe’s top table.

Cole expects two new arrivals to have a similar impact in the Premier League, but has also backed them to show off their leadership qualities as Chelsea look to fight for major honours once again in 2020-21.

“Although the new players that have come in are young, they’ve got experience of playing Champions League, they were stars of their team,” the former Blues defender told ESPN of Werner and Ziyech. “They can give that leadership off the pitch and on it as well because we had a lot of leaders when I was a player here.

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“They led by example not just by talking, but with their feet, which I feel is more important. People can talk. It is easy to talk, but when you are backing it up with quality performances, that’s what makes the difference.”

Cole went on to discuss how a FIFA-imposed transfer ban ended up having a positive effect on the Chelsea squad when Lampard was drafted in to replace Maurizio Sarri in the managerial hot seat last summer.

The likes of Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham, Fikayo Tomori and Reece James were all promoted into senior roles, and a club legend was delighted to see the club’s younger players given an early leg up in terms of their overall career development.

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“Since Frank has been here, and with the transfer ban, it has given the kids a little bit of a push and ignited a few of them. Now, they start to see the light at the end of the tunnel,” Cole added.

“Who knows what would have happened if Chelsea hadn’t had a ban? But there’s a lot of pressure being a manager of Chelsea. The owner [Roman Abramovich] wants to win. He felt that winning feeling and he wants to do it again, so any manager who goes in is under pressure.

“So the transfer ban helped the young kids. For that six months, a lot of them progressed. It was difficult for young kids when I was a player.”

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‘WERNER AND ZİYECH CAN BE LEADERS FOR CHELSEA’


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