Hakim Ziyech’s former coach at Heerenveen Jan de Jonge said he has always seen the play-maker’s potential despite his attitude problems.
Before his stardom at FC Twente and Ajax Amsterdam, the 27-year-old spent four years at Heerenveen, including the three years he spent in their youth teams.
De Jong, who is now the manager of Dutch third tier club De Treffers, has spoken up about the two years he spent coaching Ziyech at Heerenveen U21s.
He told France Football: “He had just entered the youth academy, and he looked very fragile. But he already had his creativity back then, so you knew he had a lot of potential.
“The fact that he was small and fragile could have become a problem, but he was fortunate that not so much value was attached to it in our training.
De Jonge also said Ziyech had disciplinary issues and told a story about when Chelsea’s new signing decided to prank the dressing room.
He said: “There were some behavioural problems. But otherwise, he had everything. In the end, it is often those boys, who may be more difficult to control, who have something extra as a footballer.
“But let’s be clear: he was by no means unmanageable. He was a prankster.
“We once played near a farm, and Hakim thought it would be a good idea to steal a chicken there and let it go in the dressing room.
“When I realised what was going on, I had to make clear to him that it might not be the best idea of the century.”
Ziyech is expected to arrive at Stamford Bridge on July 1 and, based on his former coach’s comment, he would likely liven up the dressing room.