Denis Zakaria 'didn't know Chelsea option' until hours before transfer

Denis Zakaria admits he ‘didn’t know Chelsea move was even an option’ until six hours before the transfer window shut, after the Swiss midfielder finalised late loan switch after an unhappy spell at Juventus

  • Denis Zakaria said he didn’t know Chelsea loan move was on the cards until late 
  • The Swiss midfielder woke as a Juventus player, but failed to settle down in Italy
  • Zakaria, 25, has vowed to work hard to get a place under boss Graham Potter 

Denis Zakaria admitted he didn’t know his deadline day Chelsea move was possible until hours before the transfer window shut earlier this month.

The Swiss international had joined Juventus from Borussia Monchengladbach in January 2022, but struggled to settle in at the Italian giants, making just 15 appearances in the first half of the year.

He woke up on September 1 not knowing he was changing clubs – and countries – but Chelsea came in late with a €3m loan deal, with option to buy for a further €28m plus €5m in add-ons.

Denis Zakaria did not know he was moving to Chelsea until hours before the transfer deadline

Zakaria told Blick in his native Switzerland: ‘It all happened very quickly. I didn’t know a move to Chelsea was possible until six hours before the end of the transfer window.

‘I packed my things and waited for the contracts to be signed. Then I did the medical check in Turin and it was through, it was very close,’ says the midfielder.

Quick deals have been part of Chelsea’s strategy recently – within a week of Zakaria’s signing, manager Thomas Tuchel was sacked and replaced by Graham Potter within 48 hours.

He made just 15 Juventus appearances, and felt that the team’s style of play did not suit him 

‘Thomas Tuchel was one of the reasons I went to Chelsea, he’s a great coach,’ Zakaria said. ‘But now we haven’t had much time with him, but that’s football. Everything goes fast.

‘I might have a new chance with the new coach, about whom I’ve heard a lot of good things. I will work a lot to get my place.’

Potter’s intensity in training sessions is higher, Zakaria claims, noting: ‘I want to show the best face I have.’

The 25-year-old forward also confirmed that Liverpool were interested, but the Reds went with Arthur Melo instead.

‘I heard that from my agent, but in the end it was Chelsea,’ Zakaria said. ‘I think I’ll be happier in England than in Turin.’

Zakaria said Juventus manager Max Allegri is a ‘good person’, but is glad to have moved away

He struggled to pinpoint exactly why things weren’t working for him at Juventus, under coach Max Allegri, but he believes the move to the Premier League is better for him.

‘It’s difficult to say what went wrong [at Juventus], maybe the style of football wasn’t suited to me,’ the Swiss midfielder said. ‘The team sat very deep, so I didn’t have much space. I’m a player who needs a lot of space for my runs. It might suit me better in England.

‘Allegri is a good person, I can say that for sure. Maybe the team didn’t play that well, which is a shame, as with the talent in that squad, they can do much better.’

Despite not making a Chelsea appearance in his first three weeks in London, he’s content with the situation. Zakaria said: ‘I’m happy to be a footballer and I’m living my dream. That’s why I’m always positive.’

Zakaria’s national team fixtures will see Switzerland travel to Spain on Saturday before hosting the Czech Republic next Tuesday. 

Zakaria is on international duty with Switzerland, who will play Spain and the Czech Republic

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