Main menu


Denis Zakaria to Chelsea: Juventus loan deal could be more than a stopgap in Thomas Tuchel's midfield | Football News

Chelsea’s acquisition of Denis Zakaria on Deadline Day didn’t get much attention. Since it is a loan agreement with options, the risk is low and the expectations are low. People will remember Saul Niguez’s dominating season. But it would be a mistake to underestimate Zachariah.

This article was first published after the Queen’s death and before football was postponed.

This is likely to be a short-term fix for Chelsea before expanding their midfield targets next summer, but those who have followed the player’s career closely will see this as an opportunity for him to impress in the Premier League. I wouldn’t be surprised if you were able to grab it.

Use Chrome browser for a more accessible video player

Watch Free: Highlights from Chelsea’s Premier League victory over West Ham

Zakaria’s progress has stalled, but the Swiss international is still only 25 years old. Before his brief stay at Juventus and injury at Borussia Mönchengladbach, he was one of Europe’s most promising midfield talents. Liverpool have maintained their interest this summer.

Adam Owen was part of Servette’s coaching team when Zakaria first broke out. “He stood out even then,” says Owen. sky sports“Kevin Cooper was the manager who made him debut at the age of 17.

Talent could not be overlooked. “I think everyone across the academy knew that.In the beginning, the frustration was that I felt like he should have played earlier than me, just because the timing had to be right. And we kept him.”

Switzerland's Dennis Zakaria (left) battles for the ball with Hungary's David Marquardt during a football match between Switzerland and Hungary in the 2018 World Cup Group B Qualifier.  Saturday, October 7, 2017.
Denis Zakaria’s ability to drive with the ball from midfield is a useful asset

Owen and Zachariah communicated in French rather than English, and he remembers a “great young man” he wanted to work with longer. I moved to the Boys.” From there, his career exploded.

“Physically, he was an absolute machine back then. He was good with the ball. Able to play, decent and solid on defense.As a teenager, he had all those traits.He probably reminds me of Patrick Vieira.

James Rodriguez (R) of Bayern Munich and Dennis Zakaria of Gladbach during the German Bundesliga football match between Borussia Mönchengladbach and Bayern Munich at Borussia Park in Mönchengladbach, Germany, 25 November 2017 to compete for the ball.
Denis Zakaria is a player who can break play in midfield

The comparison to Vieira has been consistent throughout his career and it makes sense. Long limbs and large strides are striking when in full flow. However, other names have been mentioned. Gladbach legend Lothar Matthaus once compared him to Toni Kroos.

In fact, Zakaria’s passing is safer than spectacular, but he was one of only seven players in the Bundesliga last season to achieve 90% or more passing accuracy. He can break plays with interceptions and protect defense.

Juventus' Denis Zakaria's range

Fabian Otte, Gladbach’s goalkeeping coach, saw this ability up close from the dugout. “He’s great at winning the ball defensively and is an incredible box-to-box player with great forward power,” Otte said. sky sports.

“I have nothing but great things to say about Zaki. He is a very humble person. , could have easily moved on for £30m” if his contract hadn’t expired.

“I hope he does something amazing because he deserves it.”

That injury Otte mentions is why there was no more fanfare. Can a player who made 11 appearances in Serie A and failed to convince Juventus of his worth really play a key role in the Premier League at Stamford Bridge?

Denis Zakaria heatmap and passing sonar at Juventus

Owen, now Assistant Manager at Hibs, has a PhD in Sport and Exercise Science and Coaching, and was a Performance Director for the Rangers and Fitness Coach for the Welsh National Team. He believes there is still time for Zachariah to reach the next level.

“He’s young enough to get through it. The key is always making sure he’s getting the right rehab and the right training. Development is still there. If you’re a senior international Players may still have progress and development just because they are.”

“You gotta take a chance on someone like that. What he’s been through is he’s handled every level step-up he’s done. For me, he’s back where he needed to be physically. If I can, I have ‘no doubt he can step up again.

“The potential for him to continue and do more is significant.”

If Zakaria can realize his potential, Chelsea will have a midfielder capable of doing more than just a stopgap deal.