Chelsea’s 2023 January transfer window, headed by American billionaire Toddy Boehly and his new recruitment team, has taken multiple twists and turns, each more sensational than the last.
On Deadline Day, the Blues secured a monstrous move for Argentinian star Enzo Fernandez from Benfica for a massive €120 million fee, smashing the British transfer record.
Space needed to be made in the roster, and a corresponding move was secured as Moroccan winger Hakim Ziyech agreed to a deal with French side PSG, who are in desperate need of attacking depth behind star forwards Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar.
However, the move has reportedly fallen apart in incredible fashion, leaving all parties furious with the end result.
MORE: Updated tracker for all Deadline Day moves & news to close the 2023 January transfer window
Hakim Ziyech transfer to PSG fails after error in paperwork
It seemed for all the world that Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech would complete a move to PSG on January transfer window Deadline Day, as Fabrizio Romano and others reported that a deal had been completed. All hurdles regarding wages had been cleared, and the deal would be a straight six-month loan through the end of the season with no option to buy, according to Romano’s report and many others.
However, shocking news came down after the transfer window in France closed. The window in France closes an hour earlier than that in England, as they reach midnight earlier thanks to the time difference. According to reports by multiple journalists, an error in paperwork caused Hakim Ziyech’s PSG transfer to fail at the last possible moment.
The first sign of trouble came from French journalist Bruno Salomon, who reported that Chelsea attempted to send the documentation three separate times and each attempt was erroneous. It’s unclear what exactly the issue was, as Salomon’s report in French translates to read that “Chelsea sent the wrong documents 3 times” but it’s possible that could instead mean the paperwork was somehow incorrectly completed on multiple attempts.
Then, Ben Jacobs of CBS Sports reported that PSG were furious with the turn of events, and Ziyech himself was stuck in Paris with no move officially sealed. Jacobs reports that PSG will file an appeal tomorrow with the French league to have the deadline extended, but are not hopeful of success in that regard.
Nazar Kinsella of The Standard reported that Chelsea hung on to Ziyech through the January window due to the injury crisis, and only released him on Deadline Day with the recovery of some injured players nearing a conclusion. Kinsella added that the Chelsea lawyers had “too much work load” with the late Enzo Fernandez deal on the final day, which led to the paperwork mix-up on Ziyech’s end.
More on Hakim Ziyech. PSG have an appeal ready to LFP — but contracts are not validated as things stand after Chelsea and PSG exchanged docs. 🚨⚠️🇲🇦 #DeadlineDay
Deal currently off. pic.twitter.com/CxT1xujMht
— Fabrizio Romano (@FabrizioRomano) January 31, 2023
Why was Hakim Ziyech leaving Chelsea?
Having joined Chelsea from Dutch side Ajax in the summer of 2020, Hakim Ziyech has slowly seen his time decrease at Stamford Bridge.
A squad bursting with attacking talent has seen the forward line shuffled on countless occasions, with injuries and poor form causing total chaos in the Chelsea squad. New players are seemingly shuttled in and out of the lineup at will as others are injured or struggle to perform.
This season, Ziyech has been at the back of the line, making just 10 Premier League appearances this campaign. He had started just a single match prior to the World Cup break, and has only seen time recently as the Blues suffer through an unprecedented injury crisis.
As his teammates inevitably get healthy over the course of the next month, it seems likely that Ziyech would drop back to the bench despite a positive showing at the 2022 World Cup with Morocco, reaching the semifinals.
A move to PSG would provide some relief, as while Ziyech likely wouldn’t see the field in ideal circumstances behind all-world attacking trio Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe, and Neymar, there would almost surely be minutes available. PSG boss Christophe Galtier would surely wish to rotate those star players at all available opportunities, with Messi at an advanced age of 35 years old, Neymar boasting a laundry list of injuries over the past few years, and Mbappe being leaned on endlessly to carry the load in the absence of his fellow attackers.
Other Deadline Day deals in jeopardy for late paperwork
Hakim Ziyech wasn’t the only one who may have a January move off this year after having paperwork filed too late.
According to a number of reports, including from Spanish journalist Toni Juanmarti, Mexican international Julian Araujo, just 21 years old, saw a move from his MLS club LA Galaxy to Barcelona scrapped after his paperwork was filed late. Juanmarti’s report states that the paperwork arrived “less than a minute” after the deadline, and that the club will appeal to have the transfer pushed through.
Additionally, U.S. international Konrad de la Fuente saw his move to Hull City negated after the paperwork was not completed on time. A report from Hull Live claims that negotiations for the loan, which involved Hull City owner Acun Ilicali, went on longer than anticipated, leaving the paperwork left undone.