‘Class A circus’ – Paris St-Germain relations with Chelsea at rock bottom in Hakim Ziyech row
Paris St-Germain will think twice before dealing with Chelsea again as relations between the clubs threaten to hit rock bottom over the “Class A circus” surrounding Hakim Ziyech’s aborted move to France.
Ziyech was due to move to PSG on loan for the rest of the season, but the transfer was cancelled after agreement documents were received too late to beat the 11pm (GMT) transfer deadline and an appeal was turned down.
Chelsea are blaming the breakdown on a technology glitch on their side, but PSG are furious over the matter with sources claiming the club feel disrespected and describing the process as a “Class A circus.”
Sources have also told Telegraph Sport that PSG will think twice before dealing with Chelsea in the future and have rejected the London club’s version of events.
Reports in France have claimed the wrong documents were sent three times by Chelsea, while there has also been a suggestion that Chelsea simply took their eye off the ball while they completed the British record signing of Enzo Fernández.
That is supported by PSG, who are adamant they received unsigned and incorrect documents before finally receiving the correct signed version just after the 11pm deadline.
Ziyech, who was waiting in Paris to be told the move had gone through, is said to be devastated over the breakdown and PSG sources also believe Chelsea have been disrespectful to their own player over the matter.
Chelsea reject accusations they sent over incorrect documents three times or that the signing of Fernández in any way stopped them finalising Ziyech’s move.
Club insiders claim a copy of the loan agreement was sent to PSG in advance of the deadline. According to Chelsea’s version of events, the French club then sent it back requesting the Premier League club sign it, which they did and believed they had emailed it back to PSG in plenty of time.
It later transpired, however, the email had not gone through due to a glitch. PSG later sent the agreement again and Chelsea again signed it and returned it at exactly 11pm which was ultimately too late. PSG have insisted they did not receive the correct signed document until 11.03pm and immediately lodged the contract one minute later.
PSG submitted an appeal with French football’s governing body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP), but that was rejected on Wednesday and Ziyech has been told he cannot move to the Ligue 1 club. The LFP ruled there was an “unjustifiable delay” in sending the documents to them.
Sources close to the player described Ziyech as being “upset” and Chelsea head coach Graham Potter now faces the tough task of reintegrating the Morocco international back into his squad.
PSG have not completely ruled out reigniting their interest in Ziyech in the summer or dealing with Chelsea again in the future, but have made it clear they will think twice before doing so.
Only three new signings can play in Champions League
Chelsea formally announced the signing of Fernández on Wednesday morning and the club are facing a Champions League headache over which of their big-money January signings to register for the knockout stages of the competition.
Fernández became Chelsea’s eighth signing of the January transfer window, although right-back Malo Gusto will not move to Stamford Bridge until the end of the season.
Brazilian teenager Andrey Santos is yet to receive a work permit to start playing for Chelsea, but that still leaves six new signings battling for three Champions League places.
Clubs are allowed to register a maximum of three new players for the knockout stages of the competition, which means Chelsea must choose between Fernández, Mykhaylo Mudryk, on-loan Joao Felix, Benoît Badiashile, Noni Madueke and David Datro Fofana.
Fofana and Madueke, who cost a combined £40 million, are almost certain to miss out, but that still leaves head coach Graham Potter and Chelsea having to pick three from the other four.
Central defender Badiashile, signed for £35 million from Monaco, started Chelsea’s last two games and impressed, but with Wesley Fofana returning from injury, Potter may feel he has enough cover in defence to cope without the 21-year-old in Europe.
That would leave Fernández, Mudryk and Felix as the three new players in Potter’s Champions League squad, with Chelsea scheduled to start their knockout campaign with a last-16 trip to Borussia Dortmund on February 15.
Chelsea are 10th in the Premier League table and out of the EFL and FA Cups, which leaves the Champions League as their only opportunity to finish the season with a trophy and it might also be their best chance to qualify for next season’s Champions League.
Chelsea’s January transfer window spend was overseen by co-controlling owner Behdad Eghbali and one half of their new recruitment team, director of global talent and transfers Paul Winstanley and technical director Christopher Vivell.
Co-technical director Laurence Stewart had an input into Chelsea’s business, but he will start work with the club permanently this month, along with co-director of recruitment and talent Joe Shields.