Chelsea star Hakim Ziyech 'would have run' to join Roma and only completed transfer after Serie A club refused to pay up

CHELSEA star Hakim Ziyech was keen to move to Roma before sealing his Stamford Bridge switch last summer, it has been revealed.

Morocco team-mate Medhi Benatia claimed that the attacker 'would have run' to the Italian capital when a move was discussed in 2019.

At the time, Ziyech was off the back of a stunning run to the Champions League semi-finals with an Ajax team being poached by Europe's biggest clubs.

He ended up remaining in Amsterdam for another 12 months before a £36.5million move to Chelsea.

The 28-year-old star made 62 appearances since signing for the West London side, finding the 11 times.

Although things could have worked out very different had then-Roma president James Pallotta agreed to fork out for the playmaker, according to Benatia.

The former Roma defender, now with Al-Duhail, told La Gazzetta dello Sport: “I had tried to get him to come to Roma, and he would have run to join this club.

“I spoke to Francesco Totti and Edin Dzeko, telling them that this is the man they want.

"As a director, Francesco did everything he could to get the deal concluded, but Pallotta said it would be ‘an excessive expense’ and nothing ever came of it."

Club legend Totti would famously quit the Stadio Olimpico later in the same summer, citing a lack of influence on transfers.

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He famously complained upon leaving: "They knew of my desire to offer a lot to this squad but they never wanted it.

"They kept me out of everything. It’s a day that I hoped never would have come."

Unpopular owner Pallotta eventually sold up to fellow American businessman Dan Friedkin last year after almost a decade in charge of Roma.

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